METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett recently spoke to the Cleveland Free Times regarding Jason Newsted's departure, the "Some Kind of Monster" documentary, touring and the next studio album which he hopes will be completed by the end of the year. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On Jason Newsted's departure:
Kirk Hammett: "It was pretty devastating when we lost a band member. We were supposed to be this invincible machine that forged through the land, taking no prisoners. All of a sudden, it opened our eyes to the fact that we weren't invincible. We were prone to all sorts of hidden things. We were prone to things other people were prone to. To me, Jason was my friend. I hung out with him a lot. We didn't want to see him go. But he had been unhappy for a long time. He did what he needed to do to find that happiness again. I guess that didn't include us or METALLICA. We didn't want to see him go, but it was healthy for everyone involved."
On the band's personal crisis during the recording of "St. Anger":
Kirk Hammett: "I definitely thought at the time that the band took precedence over our personal lives, which was pretty unhealthy, especially when we were taking on so much work. In retrospect, I'm glad we survived it. I didn't foresee that it would take the hold it did. I don't think any of us did. The tension was between all of us. The movie tends to focus on James and Lars, but you have to understand, the filmmakers had to make a dramatic story line to make cinematic tension. They focused on that. There was lots of tension."
When asked how METALLICA has continued to fill arenas when many of its contemporaries have been reduced to playing much smaller halls, Kirk admits he doesn't really know:
Kirk Hammett: "I just know that we try to go out there and write the best songs we can and make the best album we can, and we try to play the best shows we possibly can. We approach everything, from interviews to merch, the best we possibly can. I guess it's all paid off over the years. People still come knowing they're going to get a certain quality. METALLICA is a name that's been associated with a certain level of quality. That's all I can attribute it to."
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(Thanks: The 4 Horsemen)