Archive News Mar 04, 2001 - update 2

In a very revealing interview published in the April edition of Playboy magazine, members of METALLICA offered a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the band, including the reasons behind bassist Jason Newsted's eventual departure from the group (the interview itself was done in November 2000—two months before Newsted's exit).

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According to Playboy writer and music journalist Rob Tannenbaum, who met with the members separately, 'I wasn't surprised that Jason Newsted quit METALLICA. Just two months earlier, I'd spent a day with each of the four, and I've never seen a band so quarrelsome and fractious. Each talked about his need for solitude. The most unhappy Metallican was Newsted, whom I met at a Marin County recording studio. Newsted gradually admitted that he felt 'almost stifled' in METALLICA. He added, 'I would not leave METALLICA for another band. I would do it to live my life, not depart to play in another band.' According to [a source close to the band], Newsted said he might move to Montana and not touch a bass for two years. [The source also] admits that the bassist's clash with Hetfield was a 'precipitating factor.''

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In the April Playboy interview, METALLICA discuss their war against Napster, their wars with each other, sleeping with groupies and much more. Drummer Lars Ulrich says, 'It's an interesting time to interview the four of us separately. You're hearing people get things off their chest—almost using you as the middle man.' Hetfield adds, 'It is a pretty difficult time for us right now.'

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The following are selected quotes from the April Playboy interview:

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On METALLICA's war against Napster and METALLICA fans siding with Napster:

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Ulrich: 'Obviously, this has been the fucking wake-up call of the millennium to everybody who has anything to do with intellectual property.'

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On fans not sympathizing with the rich, Ulrich says, 'So it becomes about 'these greedy rock stars.' But understand, 80 million records later, I don't know what the fuck to do with all the money I have. The real issue, for me, is choice. I want to choose what happens to my music.'

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Hetfield: '[METALLICA fans sided with Napster] because they're lazy bastards and they want everything for free. I like playing music because it's a good living and I get satisfaction from it. But I can't feed my family with satisfaction.'

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Ulrich: 'If you'd stop being a METALLICA fan because I won't give you my music for free, then fuck you. I don't want you to be a METALLICA fan.'

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Hetfield: 'I've gotten in plenty of arguments with fans who just wanted to 'discuss' it. This poor girl in Atlanta, I made her cry. She felt money was evil. Why don't you go live in Canada or some socialist country?'

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On band conflict:

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Hammett: 'There are a lot of soap operas and petty dramas that come with being in this band.'

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Hetfield: 'I remember throwing [Ulrich] into his drum kit a couple of times, throwing some cymbals, cutting his head open.'

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Ulrich: 'I've gotten into a couple of fights with Jason.'

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Hetfield: 'I'm definitely not the smartest guy in the band, so winning an intellectual argument is not going to happen. Resorting to violence used to work. And intimidation.'

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Newsted, on his love of music: 'Five years ago, the band took priority over all other things. Now, families come first. I understand that. A family is more important. I'm the only one who's not married, and music still plays the biggest part in my life. METALLICA is the biggest heavy metal band there has ever been. Those guys will be happy taking six months away from the music. They have other things on their minds. If I even try to go six days without playing with somebody, I have anxiety-type things happen.'

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Newsted, on taking time off: 'James and Lars started this thing together. They came through all of the hardships. And they have serious, written-in-stone feelings about the band, about how it needs to be run. That's very, very hard to swallow sometimes.'

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On criticism:

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Hammett: 'When the second album came out, we had slow songs, for God's sake! Even our fans fucking criticize us. We have bulletproof vests on when it comes to criticism. We feed off of it.'

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Hetfield: 'METALLICA loves to be hated.'

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On groupies, Ulrich says, 'We all had some pretty slutty moments. I don't think there's anybody in this band who hasn't had crabs a couple of times, or the occasional drip-dick.'

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Playboy (to Newsted): What did they do you that was disrespectful?

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Newsted: 'Turning the bass down on And Justice For All. Not listening to my ideas, musically.'

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Newsted: (on 'Mama Said') 'I don't think that tasted very good to me.'

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Hetfield: 'Mullets Rule!'

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On side projects / ECHOBRAIN (Jason's band):

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Newsted: 'I guess our understanding is that we don't want to be like other bands, where people go off and do side projects. I have made some incredibly wonderful music with other musicians. It would just floor people - it has floored people. But I just can't release it.'

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Playboy: 'James and Lars won't let you?'

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Newsted: 'It's not Lars.'

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Hetfield: 'We just disagree about side projects. Fans have always viewed METALLICA as something they can rely on: We're always there, always strong. We've been the same guys since day one, essentially. The only way you can get out of this band is if you die. When you say METALLICA, you know who that is: Lars, James, Kirk and - uh, what's that guy? Jason (laughs). When someone does a side project it takes away from the strength of METALLICA. So there is a little ugliness lately. And it shouldn't be discussed in the press.'

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Newsted: 'James Hetfield is the heart and soul and pride of METALLICA, the protector of the name. I'm not out to disrespect him.'

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Playboy: But he could respect you by letting you release the album?

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Newsted: 'We're getting really close to some things we shouldn't be talking about. I would like him to see that this music is truly a part of me, like his child is a part of him.'

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Playboy: What did James say when you told him that you wanted to release the album?

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Newsted: 'I won't go there. We have to change the subject.'

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Hetfield: 'Where would it end? Does he start touring with it? Does he sell t-shirts? Is it his band? Thats the part I don't like. It's like cheating on your wife in a way. Married to each other.'

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The band on Jason's solo material (i.e. ECHOBRAIN):&nbsp

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Hammett: It's a great album.

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Ulrich: It's a nice record, very bluesy, like a poppier version of Stevie Ray Vaughn's stuff.

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Hetfield:: It's respectable.

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On James' various appearances as a guest (COC, South Park):

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Newsted: 'I can't play my shit, but he can go play with other people.'

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Hetfield: 'My name is not on those records. And I'm not out trying to sell them.'

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On being seen as an asshole:

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Hetfield: 'I don't mind being looked at as the asshole in the band. Well, within the band. As long as the fans think Lars is the asshole, that's fine.'

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More Playboy revelations:

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- Lars has separated from his wife.

- Kirk was abused as a child by his father and a neighbor.

- Kirk had a bad coke problem on the And Justice For All tour.

- James went to therapy around the time of Load, and has taken to drinking again, though in a more responsible manner.

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In other METALLICA news, the band have issued the following press release via their official web site regarding the upcoming release of the METALLICA Action Figures from McFarlane Toys:

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'As many of you have seen, McFarlane Toys will be releasing a set of METALLICA Action Figures. The action figures are sculpted to represent the band during the 1988-1989 ...And Justice For All Tour. The four-figure box set will come complete with a stage, instruments, and lights. The action figures are scheduled to hit store shelves (and MetClub Merch Catalog's) in October.

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McFarlane, who was responsible for resurrecting Spiderman's career in the late 80s and the creation of Spawn, has been branching out his toy company to cover more than your basic comic book action figures. In addition to various Spawn and Movie Monster action figures, McFarlane Toys have released toys covering everyone from OZZY OSBOURNE to ROB ZOMBIE to JANIS JOPLIN. After loads and loads of requests from rabid METALLICA fans, McFarlane Toys finally filled a void that has existed in toy stores for years... we will finally have our own METALLICA Action Figures!'

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