In a brand new interview with The Verge, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke about whether stretching beyond straight rock albums for METALLICA, such as making the "Through The Never" movie, is an important part of staying engaged after all this time.
"Well, it's great because these are like extracurricular projects," he said. "They're cool things for us to do, that we feel that we can totally get into and really make something really cool and different. And we know we're late on this new album, and we probably would've been halfway through it if this whole movie thing didn't come up. But for us, this is fun. It's a new creative challenge for us. We like being challenged, we like going down new creative avenues in the name of METALLICA."
Asked if fan reactions ever factor in when METALLICA is deciding what to do next, Kirk said: "No, because we're doing it for ourselves, man. 'Lulu' [METALLICA's collaborative album with Lou Reed] is a really good example. I think that 'Lulu' is some of the best stuff we've done. I mean, the song 'Junior Dad' moves me to tears, and working with Lou Reed was such a cool, unique, and special thing for us. Maybe it's not for everyone. Maybe it's a challenge for our fans, but for us — Lars [Ulrich, drums], James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals], Rob [Trujillo, bass], and myself — we loved doing it and it was such a great experience. We look back at it very positively."
In an interview with SPIN magazine, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich was asked if he was surprised by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to "Lulu". "It was more spiteful than anyone was prepared for," Lars replied. "Especially against Lou. He is such a sweet man. But when METALLICA do impulsive riffing and Lou Reed is reciting abstract poetry about German bohemians from 150 years ago, it can be difficult to embrace."
Lars also said that he never had second thoughts when sweet Lou came in with lyrics like "I swallow your sharpest cutter / Like a colored man's dick". "I understand that to some 13-year-old in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, it can all seem a little cringe-worthy, but to someone raised in an art community in Copenhagen in the late '60s, that was expected," he said.
Ulrich told Brazil's Wikimetal in September 2011 that he felt good about recording "Lulu", which came out to poor sales and disastrous reviews in November 2011. Ulrich said, "It's definitely very unique, and whether it's unique in a good way or unique in a not-so-good way, I have no idea yet. The people whose opinions I trust say it's very good. It feels very good; it's a lot of fun to do. But whether it's making a new sound, or paving a new way, I have no idea."
The drummer added that METALLICA's success has given them the freedom to try new things, which is essential to the band's longevity. He explained, "I think that 30 years in, we have to kind of do these things to keep us alive. If we get stuck doing the same thing over and over again, it becomes automatic . . . that's not the band I'd like METALLICA to be. I know some people would like METALLICA to make the same record every two years, but that's not what I want METALLICA to do, and I'm not interested in doing that."
"Lulu" polarized fans around the world and earned METALLICA some of the most scathing reviews of its career. The effort features the former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman's spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA's musical assault for a jarring experience that doesn't sound like anything METALLICA has ever attempted before. A concept album based on two early 20th century plays by German author Frank Wedekind, the CD was co-produced by Reed, METALLICA, Hal Willner — who has produced albums for Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and Laurie Anderson, among others — and Greg Fidelman. Fidelman also mixed the record.
The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed's "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.
The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.
Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, "Junior Dad", clocks in at 19 minutes.