James Hetfield says Metallica makes music they want to hear
Inside a Brooklyn soundstage, Metallica has a relaxed vibe. The bandmates are making a music video for the single “Now That We’re Dead” from their new album, “Hardwired. To Self-Destruct.”
After frontman James Hetfield returns from the set following his bit in front of the camera, he hands off his guitar, shakes his hand and is relieved he “didn’t drop the pick this time.”
It’s been eight year since the last studio album.
“Fans have reminded us,” Hetfield said. “Metallica is usually pretty busy. We don’t have watches. We don’t keep a super tight schedule, but we have fun and we do a lot of stuff.”
This is Metallica’s tenth studio album in their 35-year history, yet it’s no secret that fans prefer material recorded before 1992. Hetfield said the band plays music it wants to hear.
“That’s number one. If the fans enjoy it, that’s up to them. We can’t please everyone. We do our best, and hopefully the people show up and understand the truth and honesty to us and our craft,” Hetfield said.
This time, Metallica decided to make their album close to their homes near San Francisco. “We all live in ... California with all of our families, and take our domestic responsibilities very seriously. So we decided that we wanted to make this record at home,” drummer Lars Ulrich said.
Both Ulrich and Hetfield said they were able to maintain their classic sound by hiring Greg Fidelman. He worked on “Death Magnetic” as engineer. This time around, he stepped up to co-produce the record with Ulrich and Hetfield. “It’s nice to get the creative juices flowing to be able to sort of go down to the studio and interact with your partners in crime, and still make music that you feel still has something of a relevance,” Ulrich said.
Metallica, from left, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield.