HETFIELD: Lars' name keeps getting brought up, doesn't it? [laughs] He's usually the instigator, with his mouth. He can be a real ass at times, and pull attitudes. I punched him onstage once - probably our third gig ever. We agreed we were going to play Let It Loose for our encore, and he went up there and started a different song, Killing Time, because it started with drums. I turned back: "You motherfucker!" I couldn't remember the lyrics, it was a complete failure.
ULRICH: I started the song I wanted to play. I don't remember why - maybe I felt it was a more suitable encore. And then he punched me.
HETFIELD: I remember throwing him into his drum kit a couple of times, throwing some cymbals, cutting his head open.
ULRICH: I've gotten into a couple of fights with Jason.
HAMMETT: I've never hit anyone in the band. I practice a lot of yoga now, and read a lot of Eastern philosophy. I'm a huge believer in karma: no meat, no beef, no swine, no fowl.
HETFIELD: I'm definitely not the smartest guy in the band, so winning an intellectual argument is not going to happen. Resorting to violence used to work. And intimidation.
HAMMETT: When James comes at you screaming, he can be intimidating.
PLAYBOY: A lot of things have happened to Metallica. Does that mean the band has bad karma?
HAMMETT: Quite possibly. Goddamn it, we've been through a lot of things. It has to be karma. I don't know if it's the energy our songs release. People channel the energy of our music - 90 percent of the time it's good, but maybe 10 percent of the time it's bad. I've heard stories of skinheads listening to our music and fucking tattooing song titles on their arms with big swastikas underneath. Maybe it's just personal karma. Maybe the reason James has had so many accidents is because of his own personal karma, and it affects the band.
PLAYBOY: How would you describe the change that came after And Justice for All, starting with the Black Album?
ULRICH: The earlier records were about brute force, stuff like that. As James became more comfortable, elements of vulnerability and confusion came across, with less banging-on-the-chest type of stuff. Instead of "It's fucked up and I'm going to kill everything in my wake", it was more like, "It's fucked up and I'm really suffering from it."
HETFIELD: On the Black Album, when I went to write lyrics, I didn't know what the fuck to write about. I was trying to write lyrics that the band could stand behind - but we are four completely different individuals. So the only way to go was in.
PLAYBOY: Of all the stuff you wrote James, what was the song you most hesitated over recording?