METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD: New Album Is 'Coming Along Exactly As It Should'

METALLICA took part in a press conference on June 13, 2006 prior to their concert at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds in Estonia. On the subject of the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's new album, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield said, "It coming along exactly as it should. We're not rushing too much. [We're] taking our time. We want this to be just really good. [Laughs] [We're] sifting through not only… Well, in the old days, we had a riff tape, a cassette each. You know, 'Here's my ideas.' When we were on tour [in support of 'St. Anger'], the [jam sessions in] rehearsal rooms were recorded, so we had about 15 CDs filled — and that wasn't even all of them — of filtered, good basis for songs. So we have a lot of material, which is better than the other way around. So we have a lot to go through and pick out the best. We're going to be [at it] a little while. Rick Rubin is the producer, who's done very amazing things with people, and especially bands that have … think they've gotten as far as they can, he comes in and shows them again what made them what they are and why, and brings them to their roots in a different way. So we're pretty excited about his input."

When asked how the creative process — both live and in the studio — has changed over the course of the last 20 years, Hetfield said, "The creative process… live and creating in the studio are completely different beasts. What happens out here [on the road]… We're obviously in the middle of recording a new record, coming out here to do some shows… it gets your chops up again, gets your voice back in shape, [it helps you] remember why you are doing it, you see all the fans out there, it inspires you, [and] you go back in the studio with a fresh new appreciation of why you have this gift. So the live show, the whole thing, inspires the studio. The creative process in the studio… It's changed a bit over time from Lars [Ulrich, drums] and I sitting in a room putting things together to including everyone, and now it's kind of a combination of both. I'll bring some things into the hat that already have lyrics or something, or Lars will come in with certain ideas, and we'll all have individual ideas, but we'll also create things together. A lot of that happened, like I said, on the 'St. Anger' tour in the warm-up rooms."

A 26-minute video clip containing some of the highlights from the press conference as well as the band's pre-show ritual and the actual live performance can be viewed at this location (Windows Media).

According to a press release issued by the Estonian concert agency BDG, METALLICA's June 13, 2006 concert at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds in Estonia was attended by around 78,000 people — breaking all previous audience records (the previous record was set by MICHAEL JACKSON in 1997).

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and the Mayor of Tallinn Jüri Ratas came to greet the band before the show. Georgian Defence Minister was also present at the concert.

METALLICA's show in Tallinn was the only one in Northern Europe and brought to Estonia almost 30,000 people from the neighboring countries.

As previously reported, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told England's BBC Radio 1 that the group's new album is likely to be released in the summer or early autumn of 2007. Ulrich explained, "I think we've realized that the creative process works a little slower for us than it used to, and we're OK with that. It's not a bad thing, unless, of course, you're waiting for a record." Ulrich added that the band now is far more relaxed than the turbulent state in which it recorded 2003's "St. Anger". The drummer said, "Everybody's getting along, having a great time...Back on ('St. Anger'), it was just a very different experience 'cause we had to kind of get it back together. Now everything's cool."

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