METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich recently spoke to Rolling Stone magazine (web site) about the songwriting process for the group's new album, tentatively due later this year.
When asked the titles of the new songs his band is about to record for its next album, Ulrich said. "Right now, most of them are called cities, I kid you, not! Caspar, Fresno, Munich, Glasgow — that seemed the easiest way to identify them."
Ulrich, singer-guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Rob Trujillo began work on the follow up to 2003's "St. Anger" while on tour during the past year backstage before each show. "We did something we'd never done before: We carried a ProTools (recording) system with us," Ulrich said. "Twenty minutes before stage time, we would go into a room and play, to get the machinery moving. They were jams, riffs, fun and games. And they were recorded.
"That's where ninety-five percent of this record came from," Ulrich added. "The working titles are the geographical locations where they came up."
According to Ulrich, the group's new producer Rick Rubin (SLAYER, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, AUDIOSLAVE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS) says he wants to make the group sound "like the METALLICA that made them METALLICA without going backward" — and that he's doing it by challenging old habits.
"He's questioning what key we should play in," Ulrich told Rolling Stone. "We've played in E flat since the beginning of the '90s. Nobody questioned it. All of a sudden, Rick is going, 'Maybe the stuff has more energy and Hetfield's voice sounds better in E.' He's forced us to rethink big-picture stuff, something we haven't done in years."
Rubin also insisted that METALLICA rehearse and learn the material until, as Ulrich puts it, "we can play these songs in our sleep, standing on our heads. "With Bob [Rock, METALLICA's longtime producer], we'd go into the studio when we had some concrete ideas. But Rick wants us to take care of all the creative elements first. He wants us to capture these songs in a recording environment instead of creating them there."