September 8, 2008, posted by Crumbs
Revolver executive editor Brandon Geist has posted Part 4 in "The Best of the Rest" of his recent METALLICA interviews for the magazine's current cover story on the band and its highly anticipated new album, "Death Magnetic". In this installment (the follow-up to last week's interview with guitarist Lars Ulrich), Brandon talks to guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield about what keeps the band hungry and the current state of the metal scene. Below are a couple of excerpts from the chat.
I know that the mission statement behind this new album was to kind of try to tap into the early hunger of albums like "Master of Puppets". But obviously, that's kind of impossible to do, so what is the hunger now? What, if anything, does METALLICA feel like they need to prove now?
What do we need to prove? We need to prove that it lives in us. It's not so much our career; it is our life. Besides being a dad and being a loving family, I don't know what else I would do. If I wasn't doing this, I would be trying to do it, simple as that. What are we hungry for? There's always something: the hunger to write the better album, the hunger to write the better song, create the ultimate lyric, get the ultimate guitar sound. I mean, I'm never satisfied. I go back and listen to some of these records and go, Man, no, no. Yeah, the songs are good, but the sounds…. Always, always striving for the better something. Some of it's the perfectionist in us. Then I guess also the other thing is survival. A band like us being together, you know, 26, 27 years. It doesn't happen every day. There's not a whole lot of bands that can claim that. We're pretty fortunate we've stayed kind of a household name for that amount of time, and to still be loving it and doing it and being pretty much the same guys in the band, and we're sitting here on a bus doing it again. [Both laugh] It is a nicer bus than in 1983. We have doors that I push a button, they go woop, they close; you've got direcTV; you've got high def; you've got microwaves. You know, there's a shower in the bus! [Laughs] Not saying that there aren't bands out there that pay dues, but this is pretty nice.
To what extent do you guys keep up with what's current in metal? And to the extent that you do, why do you do it? Are you a fan of newer stuff? Is it kind of part of your job, do you think, to stay tuned into what's going on?
Hetfield: That's pretty interesting. It's very interesting because I think Lars and Kirk are very knowledgeable magazine-wise. Maybe Kirk because, you know, he's just obsessive-compulsive. He's just got to have a magazine all the time, you know: Rolling Stone, or Revolver, or whatever it is, keeping up on all this stuff. And it's weird because it's like, yeah, this is my gig, this is my life. But I don't really read who's going out with who, and who put out what, or, hey, he's jamming with that. I kind of hear it secondhand from the guys. I don't know. There's probably a part of me that just really despises gossip, and when news and gossip fuse, it kind of bugs me. So, I don't really keep up with all of this stuff. Just like, if I was a mechanic, would I be reading car magazines all the time? I don't know. I'm not a mechanic but I like car magazines. There's some guy that works in a shop, I'm sure he's reading the metal mags. But I do know what I like. I hear bands. I browse through stuff, hear a name of this band, OK, check 'em out. There is stuff that I really like. And there's stuff you rediscover, like I'm just going through this phase: The Bay Area was frickin' amazing in '84, '85. That era is like, holy smokes, man. The decade back from "Ride the Lightning", it was going on. Obviously before that there was EXODUS and all this stuff, but, boy, it was huge, huge then in the Bay Area. We're so proud of being a part of that and kind of getting nostalgic about it. But this band MACHINE HEAD, the two of the guys who were in VIO-LENCE [frontman Robb Flynn and lead guitarist Phil Demmel], we just did some dates with them over in Europe. And man, I couldn't get enough. It was unbelievable.
Yeah, they rule.
They're so heavy, and super-friendly. They get it, and they love it. The last album, "The Blackening", unbelievable. Unbelievable sound, power. It sounds like a band on fire. They have really turned it on again for me. And then this band MNEMIC, which, you know, I like. We've done some other shows with them. There's a lot of real intense stuff out there that I like. Sometimes vocals really do turn me off, you know.
Read more of the chat at this location.
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