Playboy Interview:Metallica (April 2001)

April, 2001 by Playboy

HAMMETT: James always wants to be perveived as this guy who is very confident and strong. And for him to write lyrics like that - showing a sensitive side - took a lot of balls. Lars, Jason and I were going through divorces. I was an emotional wreck. I was trying to take those feeling of guilt and failure and channel them into the music, to get something positive out of it. Jason and Lars were too, and I think that has a lot to do with why the Black Album sounds the way it does.

PLAYBOY: Before, you had been one of the more popular heavy metal bands. But with the Black Album, you became mainstream.
NEWSTED: Once we hit MTV, better-looking girls started coming to the shows. Just overnight.
HAMMETT: It sounds like a cliche, but girls like melody, they like soft, pretty songs. And if that's what it took to bring them into our little trap, more power to it.

PLAYBOY: Do you think-
HETFIELD: No. I like to not think.
PLAYBOY: Only a few albums have sold more than 10 million copies. Do you think the Black Album is the band's best record?
HETFIELD: There are some songs on there I don't like. Through The Never was a little wacky. Don't Tread on Me, probably not one of my favorite songs musically. Holier Than Thou was one of the sillier songs, more the old style of writing.
PLAYBOY: When Load came out next, you guys had short hair and were wearing makeup and trendy clothes. It was quite a change from the denim and mullets.
HAMMETT: It was just a phase. It was the zeitgeist of the moment. Who knows? We might do something even more complex in the future.
PLAYBOY: Like Hetfield in a dress?
HAMMETT: I think that would be extreme [laughs].
HETFIELD: I let Lars and Kirk take over a little on the image front. I really don't like looking at it now. Our fans go, "What happened to Metallica, the rebel, longhair, greasy biker, fuck-you band?" Now it was U2 or Stone Temple Pilots, or some band relying on an image. What the fuck did we need that for? That was just stupid. Jason and I were really not into it - Kirk and Lars were gung ho. You either laugh about it or you get wound up. I'm doing both, actually.

PLAYBOY: You guys were kind of handsome without the mullets.
HETFIELD: Come on! Mullets rule. Dude, I wanted to have long hair and short hair at the same time.
HAMMETT: I never had a mullet, OK?
NEWSTED: I'm not going to fess to the mullet for more than like three months in 1987.
ULRICH: It was probably only James who had a mullet.
PLAYBOY: Well, it sure looks like a mullett you're wearing on the inner sleeve of Garage INC., Lars. What if James grew back his mullet?
HAMMETT: If he does, I'm going to dye my hair pink. "You can have a funny haircut? So can I!"

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