METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield recently spoke to Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune about the making of the band's $4.3 million documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster". Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Q. Lars Ulrich said that the METALLICA that exists now is the METALLICA that Jason Newsted always advocated when he was in the band. Would you agree?
James Hetfield: "Jason certainly sparked the inward look in us all, but unfortunately he was the one that chose not to look inward, he just ran outward. Right when it started to get heavy, he bailed on it. I'm glad we continued with what we had to do. In a way, we were disappointed that he wasn't willing to do the work. He just wanted to get to the destination. He didn't want to travel the journey."
Q. So what exactly do you and Lars have in common besides fighting for leadership in a multimillion-dollar rock band?
James Hetfield: "[Laughs] You're not wrong in saying that we are very different people as far as our outside interests. But inside, music moves us somehow, and the same music touched our lives at an early age. Also, we share control issues, trust issues, power issues. So there is a lot that we have in common, and we used it against each other for a long time. That's why it's so difficult for us to get closer, because we both used the same weapons and the same shields. We've been able to lay those down and at least get to know each other, and now we know when each of us is using the old tactics to get his way."
Q. Did you every worry this movie was going to turn into a real-life "Spinal Tap"?
James Hetfield: "[Laughs] When someone says something like that, there are two things that come to mind. One is, 'Oh my God, what have we done? What did we do wrong? I can't take it back now.' And the second is how sad it is that someone thinks what we did is so shocking. That someone being themselves, and open — what an amazing gift to have cameras there during our most traumatic time. No one gets that really. Why not put it out?
"This is a movie about relationships. It's four guys who are going through life together and we just happen to play music. It's not really about rock. It revolves around us being in a band, but it could've been a movie about four guys who aren't in a band. The most interesting part is that we are in a band in the public eye and in a career that is very image-conscious and very controlling of the image, and this is just blowing that out of the water."