METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich gave an interview to Seattle radio station 107.7 The End last week in which touched upon a number of topics, including the group's upcoming Summer Sanitarium 2003 Tour, the addition of bassist Robert Trujillo to the band's ranks, the departure of Jason Newsted, and the musical direction of METALLICA's long-awaited new studio album, "St. Anger".
The following are some of the highlights from the 20-minute conversation, as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET:
On picking the lineup for the Summer Sanitarium 2003 Tour:
"We thought it would be awesome to get bands together that had all new records coming out that nobody had heard from for a couple of years. I never actually met the LINKIN PARK guys, but I called Fred [Durst] myself. I said, 'Hey, Fred, come play some stadium shows in the summer with 'TALLICA,' and he was in…
"Three or four years ago, when Fred Durst came out of nowhere and was doing his thing, I just — to be totally honest — I didn't get it at first. And as usual, when there's things I don't get, I have a tendency to dismiss it as irrelevant. And then after a while, [I was like], 'I get it. It's pretty cool.'
"I've heard the new [LIMP BIZKIT] stuff, actually. Last time I was in L.A., he invited me over to the studio, and he played me some of the new stuff, and it's awesome. I played him some of the new 'TALLICA stuff… Look, me and Fred settled out bullshit issues about three years ago, and me and Fred have had a stellar relationship since then. Actually, the reason I like him is because I recognize a lot of my own kind of tenacity and my own kind of stuff in him. And it's actually pretty cool. Me and him get along like a house on fire these days."
On approaching EMINEM to be part of the Summer Sanitarium 2003 Tour:
"We're all, like, huge EMINEM fans in METALLICA world, and we thought it would just be so cool to try and break down some of those barriers. We spoke to him, and he respectfully and politefully [sic] declined. He was very cool about it. He said, 'Look, thanks a lot, man. Maybe we'll get a chance to do some shit some other time, but I wanna kind of chill this summer.' I think he's playing one show, or something like that, but he didn't wanna do a full tour."
On approaching GODSMACK to be part of the Summer Sanitarium 2003 Tour:
"Yeah, we talked to GODSMACK at some point. [I'm] pretty good friends with a couple of those guys. But… It's weird, man. It's… I don't know. They also, sort of… declined. Some bands would rather do their own thing than play under a bunch of other bands, which I totally respect. I'm not sure that I necessarily agree [with it], but I respect it. Back in the day when we were doing our thing, this was just like… 'OK, yeah, sure. Stadiums… VAN HALEN, SCORPIONS… Done. We're there. We'll fuckin' blow them all off.' It wasn't about, like, 'We've gotta play fifth on the bill.' Who gives a shit? We just show up [and play]."
"I really like GODSMACK, and I have a pretty good relationship with [GODSMACK singer] Sully [Erna], so I called him up, I asked him if they were interested in coming out on the festivities, and they thought about it — seriously, I'm not trying to be all diplomatic or anything — they just said it was not what they wanted to do this summer, they would rather do their own thing."
On new METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo:
"You know what was so cool about him? He's the only bass player that we jammed with — and no disrespect to the other fine gentlemen — but he was the only one that brought METALLICA to, like, another level. He's somebody you want on your team, man. We know from the old SUICIDAL days… Just watching SUICIDAL every night before we would go on was so inspiring — Mike Muir and him and Mike Clarke, all those guys gave the audience a serious kick in the ass. Rob's always just been part of our radar screen, and now that it was time to get somebody else to join the team, it was like, 'OK, it can happen.' And he is on our side, and we'll send him in first in case there needs to some ass-kicking."
On former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted joining OZZY OSBOURNE's touring band:
"I don't know… I don't know… I think if that's where his head is at, then it's awesome. Five minutes ago, he was talking about VOIVOD and how he finally found a home, and now he's talking about something else. You know what?! We've got so much going on within our own little world here that we're trying to expend our energy thinking about that. I can't… It's difficult… Jason was with us for 14 years, and we had a hell of a ride together, and I have a lot of love and respect for him. What's happened in the last two years since he left METALLICA, I can't keep up with it. I've sort of given up . . . I've heard a couple of the VOIVOD things that sounded really good. It sounded like he was really psyched and really happy. It's weird, man. I don't have anything to say, 'cause I don't wanna say anything bad. I wish him all the best. I just hope that he finds what it is that he's looking for, you know . . . It's such a weird thing. It's really like he left our band, and it was like, 'Cool, peace. We had a great 14 years together.' And then, after he left our band, then [Jason] was like, 'Well, if they called me and asked me if I wanted to come back...' And [we were like], 'Dude, you left our band. Thanks, but we're cool. It's all good, man. Don't worry about it.' And I really mean this, like, genuinely. It just sounds like… he's a little lost or something. Playing with Ozzy is obviously an awesome thing, but… I would love to play a gig or two with Ozzy just to say that I played a gig or two with Ozzy, but it just sounds like it's a little… I don't know… [Jason] sounds a little lost or something. I don't know…"
On the forthcoming METALLICA album, "St. Anger":
"I don't like the word 'going back', because I don't like it to get nostalgic. I think we still have enough vitality and relevance… It's not about going back, it's about moving forward, but we're moving forward with a lot of elements of earlier stuff with us. It's almost like… We've done a lot of, what I call 'musical exploration' in the last few years, and I think that by continuing to find something to kind of be excited about, that path took us almost, like, in a circle. So now we're sort of having a lot of fun with playing some really, really fast stuff again. And when I say 'fast,' I mean, like, fast fast. And really aggressive, aggro, a lot of the old starts and stops, and the serious, dynamic changes, and a lot of songs north of seven, eight minutes. So it's not about 'Hey, we're going back, dude,' but it's more about, like… My analogy, which I'm actually getting sick of hearing myself say, is that… It's sort of like that old pair of shoes over in the closet that you haven't worn for a couple of years, but you put those shoes on again, and they just feel really damn good to have on again, and you kind of, when you put them back on, you sort of say, 'Why didn't I put them on earlier?' But you realize that you have to wear all those other pairs of shoes in order to feel comfortable in that pair of shoes again. Playing, like, super-fast is sort of like… We've done 'Battery', we've done 'Damage [Inc.]', we've done 'Blackened'… Maybe there isn't anything else to offer… But 10 years later, it sure seems like there's a lot more to offer in that direction. And basically, the new album is about 70 minutes of that. [laughs] It's not like there's three or four songs and then a couple of ballads. It's basically around 11… somewhere between 10 and 12 songs of just complete aggro, out-of-control earspank, as we call it."
Check out the entire interview in streaming Real Audio at this location.