The April 2001 issue of Playboy has a startingly frank interview with Metallica. The interviews with Playboy's Rob Tannebaum were culminated separately, although quotes from the band were presented to each other for reply. The interviews were before the announced departure of Jason, although his departure is noted in the article's opening.... "I wasn't surprised that Jason Newsted quit Metallica." - author Rob Tannebaum
PLAYBOY: Aside from his natural garrulousness, why did Lars become the band's spokesman against Napster?
HETFIELD: My wife and I were giving birth to a second child [son Castor, born May 2000]. And family is number one. So Lars had to run with the torch, and there were a few bad moves. You know, Lars can get really mouthy and be a snotty-nosed kid at times. I cringed at certain interviews: "Oh dude, don't say that."
ULRICH: I said some things that were borderline silly. When Limp Bizkit embraced Napster and took $2 million to play this "free tour" -- it is possible to play free shows without taking sponsorship money, because we do that -- I said it was total bullshit. I know a lot of people hate Fred Durst, but I think he's really fucking talented. Me and Fred kissed and made up. When I open my mouth, most of the time something somewhat eloquent comes out, and once in a while I talk a bunch of fucking bullshit. I'm aware of that.
PLAYBOY: What sort of things did the fans say to your face?
HETFIELD: Some fans said, "Leave Napster alone, dude" -- if they were suicidal [laughs]. But that was after "Metallica rocks, dude." So you would turn your "thanks" into a "fuck you." I've gotten into plenty of arguments with fans who just wanted to "discuss" it. This poor girl in Atlanta, I made her cry. She felt money was evil. Why don't you go live in Canada or some socialist country?
ULRICH: If you'd stop being a Metallica fan because I won't give you my music for free, then fuck you. I don 't want you to be a Metallica fan.
HAMMETT: I'm still shocked at the reaction people have. I thought it was so obvious: People are taking our music when they're not supposed to, and we want to stop them. Computers make it seem like you're not stealing, because all you're doing is pressing a button. The bottom line is, stealing is not right.
PLAYBOY: You guys pissed off a lot of people. On the Metallica Usenet group, there's an ongoing thread called "Kirk and Lars are gay."
HAMMETT: That just shows a total lack of creative juices. That's like calling someone "fatso."
PLAYBOY: Maybe you were right on the merits. But it's hard for people to sympathize with the rich.
ULRICH: Yeah, it is. So it becomes about "these greedy rock stars." But understand, 80 million records later, I don't know what the fuck to do with all the money I have. So now can we talk about what the real issue is? The real issue, for me, is choice. I want to choose what happens to my music. It's pretty clear that the future is selling your music online. But common sense will tell you that you cannot do that if the guy next door is giving it away for free.