Playboy Interview:Metallica (April 2001)

April, 2001 by Playboy

PLAYBOY: Did you ever run away from home?
HETFIELD: Once, me and my sister split. Our parents caught us about four blocks away. They spanked the shit out of us, pretty much.
PLAYBOY: So do you believe in spanking your kids?
HETFIELD: Spanking my friends, and their wives. Yeah, as a last resort. But with the spanking comes a huge explanation why.
PLAYBOY: What was your parents' relationship like?
HETFIELD: It was my mom's second marriage - I have two older half brothers. I didn't really see any turmoil. They didn't argue in front of the kids. Then Dad went on a "businness trip" - for more than a few years, you know? I was beginning junior high. It was hidden, that he was gone. Finally, my mom said, "Dad is not coming back." And that was pretty difficult. There were some bad times-my mom needed to be home when we kids were home, or I'd have killed my sister. We beat the living hell out of each other. I remember burning her with hot oil and that was, "Wow, it went too far". My mom worried a lot, and that made her sick. She hid it from us. All of a sudden, she's in the hospital. Then all of a sudden, she's gone. Cancer got here. We went and lived with my stepbrohter Dave, who's 10 years older. My sister was being unruly, and she got thrown out of the house. I finished high school, then, "See ya, everybody."

HAMMETT: James comes from a broken home, and I come from a broken home, and when I joined the band, we kind of bonded over that. I was abused as a child. My dad drank a lot. He beat the shit out of me and my mom quite a bit. I got ahold of a guitar, and from the time I was 15, I rarely left my room. I remember having to pull my dad off my mom when he attacked her one time, during my 16th birthday - he turned on me and started slapping me around. Then my dad just left one day. My mom was struggling to support me and my sister. I've definitely channeled a lot of anger into the music. I was also abused by my neighbour when I was like nine or 10. The guy was a sick fuck. He had sex with my dog, Tippy. I can laugh about it now-hell, I was laughing about it then.
PLAYBOY: It does seem that heavy metal attracts a disproportionate number of people who've been abused.
HAMMETT: I think heavy metal is therapeutic - it's music that blows the tension away. I think that's why people who have had really bad childhoods are attracted to heavy metal. It allows people to release aggression and tension in a nonviolent way. Also, heavy metal has a community feeling - it brings outsiders together. Heavy metal seems to attract all sorts of scruffy, lost animals, strays no one wants.

ULRICH: I've always had issues with that, because I don't feel I had major psychological damage in my life. Why is that limited to metal? If you go to an Elton John concert, people have the same emotional baggage. If you lined 10 Metallica fans up against the wall, you would get 10 different stories.
PLAYBOY: And three of them would piss on the wall.
ULRICH: And one of them would knock his head against the wall, yeah. I'm not so comfortable embracing those types of cliches.

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