The members of METALLICA have revealed that they were asked to send the lyrics to their entire discography to the Chinese government for approval before they were given permission to play in the country. "We had to give them a whole set of songs and they went through all the lyrics and okayed which ones we could play, which ones we couldn't play," METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett revealed during an appearance on "The Howard Stern Show" on Monday, September 23. "They see a lyric like 'Master Of Puppets' being so subversive that they're not allowing us to play it. It's kind of scary." Added METALLICA frontman James Hetfield: "And that just brings more attention to it, of course. That doesn't work."
According to METALLICA, they never considered canceling their Chinese shows after being told which songs they couldn't perform in the country.
"There were 40,000 kids over those two nights that were, I mean, they were really responding to what we were doing," said METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich. "It was insane."
"Whatever rules they set down, the fans were there to have fun," stated Hetfield. "We got our foot in the door. We were able to go and play in China. That was the key."
"What I did is, I had an open guitar solo thing where I just sit there and riff," said Hammett. "I played the riff for 'Master Of Puppets' and a couple of other songs that weren't allowed to be played. I played just the music, so I kind of snuck it in there."
Ulrich also explained that METALLICA's Chinese fans were fully aware of the restrictions that were placed upon the band during their appearance in the country. "What we're talking about here is not a secret. They published it on government web sites — what songs we could play and what we couldn't. I mean, it's fine."
METALLICA played for the first time ever in China last month, doing two sold-out shows at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on August 13 and August 14. The first night sold out in record time and faster than any other Western act that has played the country before.
Official video recaps of the two concerts can be seen below.