METALLICA's ULRICH: We Don't Owe People Anything

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich has defended the group's latest album, "St. Anger", against criticism that it is virtually unlistenable, telling The Oregonian that heavy metal fans are not open to their favorite bands changing and experimenting with a tried-and-tested formula.

"We needed to make a record that was underproduced, and I think we succeeded!" Lars said of the album which has been widely panned for its poor production quality by everyone from KORN's Jonathan Davis to ex-METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted. "I understand that it's challenging, that it's a very long pummel. It's not for everybody. But it was really important for us to make it. We make music for ourselves, and we always have. No radio programmers would play us for our first eight years. Then all of a sudden we were everyone's darling. And now we make one record that doesn't fit in with NICKELBACK or whatever, and. . . . It's an idea that I think people have, especially in the hard-rock world, that once you do a certain thing for a while, it's like you owe people something. We don't owe people (the same thing we've done before). We're not selling toothpaste here."

Asked if it seems to him that the "long pummel" is bringing a lot of the group's core fans back around, Lars said, "I don't know. You put 10 METALLICA fans in a room, and they're 10 different people. I've given up tracking the comings and goings. But I went for a run last night before the show. I was right across the street from where everybody was lining up I had a cap on and nobody recognized me and there were 8-year-old kids standing next to 50-year-old grandparents."

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