JAMES HETFIELD Says METALLICA Is Focusing On Feeling Around 'Master Of Puppets' For New CD

METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was interviewed by Norway's NRK on Tuesday (July 10) prior to the band's headlining performance in Oslo. Watch the seven-minute unedited question-and-answer session at SVT.se or YouTube. A transcript of the interview follows:

Q: What will the new METALLICA [album] sound like?

Hetfield: "As good as we can right now, I would say, and that's all it ever has been. [Producer] Rick Rubin is extremely good at getting the best out of any artist he's worked with, whether it's BEASTIE BOYS, NEIL DIAMOND, SLAYER, SLIPKNOT… he does all, he does rap… anything! Somehow he taps in. He's got a good vibe, and a good ear, and we think we do too. So sometimes there's a little bit of this — we like our things the way we like them, he likes his things the way he likes them — but with two great powers putting something together, I think we'll come up with something pretty amazing. He's having us focus a lot on the feeling around 'Master of Puppets' — what was going through our minds? what was it like? — the hunger around 'Master of Puppets'."

Q: You played at Live Earth. What are your thoughts on the climate crisis. What can METALLICA contribute to [the whole process]?

Hetfield: "I really avoided the press around the Live Earth day. I didn't quite agree with what was going on there. Politics drive me crazy, and I don't like talking politics. Politics get in the way of things; they get in the way of getting things done, and getting our music across is what we wanna do — we don't wanna cloud it with 'Democrat, Republican,' whatever. Our philosophy is 'think for yourself' at the end of the day — do what you think feels right. I really believe that humans will survive. I have a lot of faith in mankind that we will overcome and adapt — whatever it is; whether it's man-made or God-made, or Earth/Mother Nature — we have a lot of smart people on this planet that will make something good out of bad."

Q: You guys have been a band for 25 years. What is the plan for the next 25 years?

Hetfield: "Yeah, to make it to 26, 27, 28… you know, it's one day at a time. Something exciting that's up for us is being eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in America, which is a pretty big deal. We played it last year for BLACK SABBATH, who chose not to perform, and we said we would. [Laughs] That was a lot of fun. You know, it's this historic landmark. A lot of bands get inducted, [but] not many bands are there to play all together to say 'Hi' and 'Thank you.' If you made it to 25 years, you either hate each other or you're broken up or you didn't make it that far, or something. So we're pretty proud. There's a not a whole lot of bands that can say that, so we're very grateful."

Q: You had a little bit of a difficulty on the last record. How are you guys functioning now on the new record?

Hetfield: "Well, one thing that someone said on the last record — going through all of the cleansing, the therapy, the talking, the breaking down the falls… you know, from one extreme to the other — from hating each other to not talking to hugging and crying over every note… It's crazy — one to the other. They're both unrealistic. Somewhere in the middle is where we need to live, and balance is difficult at times, especially for myself, who likes the extremes, or thinks I like them. All the work that we went through on 'St. Anger', it was said that it was not for 'St. Anger', it was for the next record, and that makes total sense. 'St. Anger' was pretty much a statement — it felt like a purging of a feeling. And this record is more us working together — in harmony, in friction, in happiness, in sadness… all of that put together. And we're able to get through it — we've walked though fire; we know how hot it can get, and we don't need to go through there again."

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