METALLICA's LARS ULRICH: 'BOB ROCK Will Always Be Our Producer'

Despite rumors of a possible collaboration with Rick Rubin (SLAYER, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SLIPKNOT), METALLICA have no plans of working with anyone else but their longtime producer Bob Rock on their upcoming studio album, the group's drummer Lars Ulrich revealed in a September 2005 interview published in the brand-new issue of METALLICA's fan club magazine, So What! A couple of excerpts from the chat, conducted by So What! editor Steffan Chirazi, follow:

Q: I was going to ask you about other music [from other bands].

Lars Ulrich: "I mean, there's nothing out there that really is particularly inspiring. . . I would say in terms of harder-edged records that have come out in the last year, like I said, other than the third SLIPKNOT album ['Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses'] and the SYSTEM [OF A DOWN] record ['Mezmerize'] that came out a couple, six months ago, there's nothing . . . certainly in the metal world . . . There's a band called AVENGED SEVENFOLD that have an interesting sound, kind of like a fresh mixture of old-school [JUDAS] PRIEST and [IRON] MAIDEN with some new-school attitude, energy, and lyrics. Other than them, nowt. But now with iTunes and iPods, you have records from 25 years ago that are as readily accessible as the new shit. And so me and James [Hetfield, METALLICA guitarist/vocalist] were talking. . . you sit there and listen to the 'Number of the Beast' [IRON MAIDEN's 1982 LP] or you know, 'Strong Arm of the Law' [SAXON's 1980 album], and you almost feel guilty for still getting an enormous amount of pleasure out of that. Because shouldn't there be something else?"

Q: [Talking about the next METALLICA album] It's not been "thought out" or pre-planned.

Lars Ulrich: "No. When I hear a record like the SLIPKNOT record or the SYSTEM record or something like that, I certainly, without being disrespectful to the fine work that 'St. Anger' was, look forward to paying a little more attention to the sonics this time. I would want to make a record again that sounds warmer."

Q: Because it ["St. Anger"] was a very harsh and abrasive record.

Lars Ulrich: "Yeah, and like I said at the time, that was kind of the idea. And we got that out of our system. I would say right now that I certainly look forward to spending a few more minutes on the drum sound rather than sort of ignoring it on purpose. Or making a record that has a little attention paid to the sonics of it. Other than that I really have no idea where it's gonna go."

Q: Is Bob [Rock] in on this? Has that come up for discussion?

Lars Ulrich: "I would say that Bob Rock will always be our producer. You know it's almost like default. It's not whether he should produce, it's more whether he shouldn't produce it. So I would expect Bob Rock to produce it unless he's not interested."

METALLICA's follow-up to 2003's "St. Anger" is expected to surface in late 2006/early 2007 via Warner Bros.

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