PLAYBOY: Metallica toured a lot less than usual last year.
NEWSTED: We did maybe 30 or 40 shows, and that's probably the least we have ever done. Metallica usually does from 150 to 250 shows in a year.
HAMMETT: I have no qualms about not doing yearlong tours anymore.
ULRICH: Ten years ago, we wanted to play as many gigs as possible and have as much debaucherous fun as possible. Now, playing 200 shows in North Dakota is not as stimulating as it used to be. Sometimes it's great being onstage, and other times the show themselves become totally mediocre and you're just sort of floating through them. The older we get, and the shorter we tour, the better we are.
PLAYBOY: How much longer can the band go on, given how physical the music is?
NEWSTED: It's limited. People won't ever see me weak, won't ever see me just standing there onstage. When the day comes that I cannot perform, I will bow out. That's it.
HETFIELD: A gray mullet would look all right.
PLAYBOY: Are there any tricks to writing a Metallica song?
NEWSTED: About 90 percent of Metallica songs are in E minor, because of James' vocal range is limited - although he's developed by leaps and bounds.
PLAYBOY: Any chance Metallica will follow the rap-metal direction?
NEWSTED: No. No rap in Metallica.
ULRICH: The chances of James Hetfield going in a rap direction are probably between zero and minus one.
PLAYBOY: From your perspective as a Metallica fan, Jason, it must be interesting to see James continue to evolve since Nothing Else Matters.
NEWSTED: Where there was darkness before, now thers's a lot of light, since James' children entered the picture. The darkness will always be there, because of the damage done, but there's a big bright spot now.
HAMMETT: We can't sing about flowers and happy shiny days, you know?