Playboy Interview:Metallica (April 2001)

April, 2001 by Playboy

ULRICH: We were very much the outcasts in Los Angeles. The first year or so, it was pretty lonely.
HETFIELD: We did some shows where if our girlfriends weren't there, there'd be no one in the audience besides the bartender. Then a few diehard fans would follow us around, and they became crew members. "Maybe that guy wants to lug some gear around so I don't have to."
PLAYBOY: Where did the medieval, Dungeons-and-Dragons theme on the early records come from?
HETFIELD: Judas Priest was a band we all dug."Oh, he writes about that. OK, then. That's what you do to be metal." Then it got into more, "Let's write about what we do": Whiplash, Hit the Lights and Seek And Destroy, which was just about smashing shit up. We worked at day jobs. After that, we'd throw parties, take the furniture out of the house and smash the joint. We smashed dressing rooms just because you were supposed to. Then you'd get the bill and go, "Whoa! I didn't know Pete Townshend paid for his lamp!" Come back off the tour and you hadn't made any money. You bought furniture for a bunch of promoters.
HAMMETT: We would drink day in and day out and hardly come up for air. People would be dropping like flies all around us, but we had the tolerance built up. Our reputation started to precede us. I can't remember the Kill 'Em All tour-we used to start drinking at three or four in the afternoon.


HETFIELD: Smashing dressing rooms was all booze related. The worst was A Day on the Green. A buddy and I, completely ripped on Jãgermeister, got it into our heads that the deli tray and the fruit had to go through a little vent. "The vent is not big enough. Let'smake a hole!" The trailer was ruined. Bill Graham - R.I.P. - was the promoter. I was summoned to his office. Like, "I have to go see the principal now." He said, "This attitude you have, I've had the same conversation with Sid Vicious and Keith Moon". It was like, "Cool! Oh, wait-they're dead. Not so cool. Maybe I should get my shit together". I realized at that point there was more to being in a band than pissing people off and smashing shit up.
PLAYBOY: James, what did you think of Lars after that first jam session?
HETFIELD: Lars had a pretty crappy drum kit, with one cymbal. It kept falling over, and we'd have to stop, and he'd pick the fucking thing up. He really was not a good drummer. To this day, he is not Drummer of the Year. We all know that. When we were done jamming, it was, "What the fuck was that??" We stiffed him on the bill for the studio, too[laughs]. There were so many different things about him. His mannerisms, his looks, his accent, his attitude, his smell. He smelled - he smelled like Denmark, I guess. They have a different view on bathing. We use soap in America.
ULRICH: American kids, there was this sort of compulsive thing about four showers a day.


PLAYBOY: Well, did you wash?
ULRICH: Often enough for me. OK?
HETFIELD: We ate McDonald's - he ate herring. He was from a different world. His father was famous. He was very well off. A rich, only child. Spoiled-that's why he's got his mouth. He knows what he wants, he goes for it and he's gotten it his whole life.
ULRICH: I'm an only child. I come from about as liberal an upbringing as you can imagine. I traveled all over the world with my father. So, yes, James Hetfield and I come from incredibly different backgrounds. And as we grow older, we probably become more different.

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