James Hetfied Recalls How Metallica Became More Democratic
In a new chat with Music Radar, Metallica frontman James Hetfield explained how the band became more democratic during the sessions for its latest album, 72 Seasons.
Hetfield spoke about how he and drummer Lars Ulrich integrated the musical ideas of lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo: “I don’t want to sit there with (only) Lars (Ulrich) and create the songs anymore. I want everyone to be a part of it and be in it. Can we all show up? Can we all be in the studio together? Can we jam on these things together? Can you speak up and say what you think might be great and not so great? Really wanting to open it up, and there were challenges in that. But I think we got through most of ’em, y’know?”
When pressed as to how Lars Ulrich took to allowing their bandmates a more equal say in musical matters, Hetfield said, “Well, I think we all have fear of change. . . and I think Lars eventually understood why and where I was trying to go with it. And even if there wasn’t input from others, just having that white space for input was great.”
Hetfield went on to say about the band’s change in creative direction: “It felt really free to kind of just sit back and let the process happen more. And yeah, it did take longer, and we might’ve gone through 10 ideas that didn’t work to get to one that did, but if you’re not out there mining for gold, you’re not gonna find any. So there were nuggets that came out of it that were just amazing.”
James Hetfield told us a while back that he couldn’t stop writing new material even if he wanted to: “I can’t turn off the creative part of me, which is — what a great gift. There’s stuff coming out all the time, whether it’s in the tuning room, in my hotel room, sitting at home with the acoustic, wherever. The stuff is coming out, and it gets recorded or written down or something, some way, and it’ll come out at some point. Whether it’s on this album, the next album, who knows?”
Metallica next performs on May 17th and 19th in Paris at Stade de France.