More with Metallica

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CS!: For this record, you decided as a band to have it be a bit more collaborative and democratic. How do you think that has changed the band?
James: By letting that happen, everyone realized that they had their own little territory to hang on to. I’m the lyric guy, so I really held that as my territory, and that was my security blanket in the band. They needed me because I wrote the lyrics, and if someone else wrote lyrics that were as good as mine, maybe I’m not needed. We’re all worth a quarter in this band and we’re all important. That was a huge discovery. And man, what a weight that let off my back.
Lars: I think that the creative process is multi-tiered now, so that’s exciting. Everything’s just smoother. It’s not me and James fighting for poll position or agreeing that the only thing we have in common is suppressing the rest of the band. It’s just sort of an even keeled thing now.
KH: My role in the creative process with the band got more involved with every album. It just so happens that the camera was there to capture the point where I got fully involved in that process, but we were heading toward it being more of a collaborative sort of process to begin with.

CS!: Considering the amount of work that went into it, not to mention all of the other stuff that is shown in the movie, how do you feel about the reaction to the record by fans and critics?
James: That’s their opinion and thank you for letting us know! (laughs)
Lars: There are many different reactions to this record. In Europe, it was our best received record and our best selling record since the Black Album. This record was #1 for six f*cking week in Germany.
James: In the States, there’s been a lot more criticism, and pretty much everywhere else, it’s really been identified with. We hear the hang-ups with the snare sound and the length of the songs, and that’s okay. Certainly, the album is a result of all the stuff we went through, so now they’ll get to see the making of us.
Lars: Look, we made a very aggressive non-mainstream record. It’s obviously been a little more difficult in America because radio was scared of it. But apart from radio in America, it’s been incredibly well received. Plus there’s always someone who has a problem with the snare drum sounding odd or there’s always something that they hit you with that you never think about. But we’re kind of used to that.

CS!: Considering everything you went through to get this record done, do you plan on doing the next record the same way?
JH: There’s no reason to not do it that way again. No matter what the song was or what it sounded like, actually doing that together, bouncing ideas off of each other, it felt fun. I actually discovered that I’m pretty good at taking an idea to a different level. I don’t have to come up with it all the time. Kirk comes up with some great stuff, and then we’ll kind of twist it here and throw it there, and man, that’s teamwork! And it feels good to do that. I hope we can all embrace that in every aspect of what we do in the band.

CS!: Lars, the movie touches a bit on the whole Napster issue. Four years later, how do you feel about Napster and everything that happened?
LU: That’s the one point where I look away because I cannot watch that sequence. I’m much more open about my hurt and all the scars I have from that. When you’re in the thick of that sh*t, you have to put your game face on and you have to stand there and you cannot let them see you squirm. It was really difficult, because we had no idea what the f*ck we were getting into. We did what we always do. We just threw ourselves out into it and never think much of the consequences. That’s the Metallica way. The way we figured it out one afternoon. Okay, our unmixed and unmastered song is on thirty radio stations in America, and there’s some company called Napster where you can go and get a copy of this version of our song that we haven’t even f*cking finished. Okay, let’s go get them like we always do. And then, all of a sudden we were caught in this sh*tstorm and we didn’t see it coming, and that was all out of ignorance and short sightedness. If I could do it all over again, I probably would still have leaped, but I would have taken a parachute with me. At least, it ignited a national debate about it. Now people come up to me all the time saying “Dude, you were right! You won!” If that’s winning, I’d hate to f*cking know what losing is like. There’s no glory in any of that sh*t, man.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster opens on July 9.