20.07.2007Архив интервью | Русская версия
The fact that Metallica will give a news conference in Moscow before their mind-blowing gig at the Luzhniki Stadium came to us as a total surprise, as the event was announced literally with a day’s notice. It’s no wonder that the response was tremendous – there were about 100 reporters and photographers in the room, and until the last moment we could hardly believe that we will soon see in person the guys that have created such masterpieces as “Master Of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman”, the songs I personally have been listening to ever since I got into heavy music. The guys turned out smiling, joked around a lot, but contrary to the tradition of such events here in Moscow, there was no informal communication with the band at all. The “four horsemen” were escorted in the room, bombarded with questions for 20 minutes, and then escorted out of the room without giving any autographs or allowing anybody to pose with them for a picture. I wonder how Lars Ulrich would have reacted if Lemmy behaved like that when the former came down to see Motorhead all the way from the U.S. back in 1981, but OK, we were extremely anyway for this small chance to be a bit closer to the legend…
It’s great to see you back after all these years! We hope you will enjoy tonight’s show! The question is about your next record you’re working on at the moment. Is it true that, as Rob Trujillo said, it will be a combination of the aggression of “Master Of Puppets” and the melodic side of your 1991 album, which many consider your best effort?
James Hatfield: We’ll be covering all the songs from “Master Of Puppets” and the “Black Album”, just changing their titles. (everybody laughs)
You have recently appeared at the Live Earth gig in London. What is your attitude to charity and the “green” movement?
Lars Ulrich: Generally we don’t get too involved in charity concerts, especially if they have political undertones to them, and a lot of them do. But I think any time it’s about people, and when it’s purely on human basis, we’re always happy to take part. The problem we get a lot is that we get asked so much to be part of these things that it’s difficult to dedicate the amount of time to it, because if you say “yes” to one, then why not the other one, why not the third one? We do get involved, and I think we also get involved on the local level at home. The thing about charity stuff is that you don’t necessarily need to advertise or talk about your involvement and helping. I’ve always found that when people talk about how much they give and help, there’s an element of self-promotion in there. We certainly help and give to many different people in many different situations all the time, and we were happy to be part of the “Live Earth” thing, but generally we don’t partake too much.
How did you arrive at the decision to get a new producer instead of Bob Rock, who was almost the fifth member of the band for over 10 years?
James: Generally everyone leaves after 10 years. (laughs) It was too comfortable with Bob, it was too easy, and we needed more of a challenge, we needed an outside ear, and a new perspective. With Bob we have a friendship beyond the business part, and he understands that for a band to stay healthy there needs to be a constant change. We’re grateful for the times he’s had with us, and it doesn’t mean he will never come back.
Lars: He actually told me that he was quite relieved, because he felt he wasn’t sure of what else he could contribute to Metallica after all these years.
Why did you choose H.I.M. as the opening band?
James: I didn’t! (laughter and applause) Sorry, H.I.M.!
Lars: I guess they’re from very close-by.
James: I wanted Megadeth. (agitation and applause in the audience)
Lars: I wanted Gorky Park! (more laughter)
Having studied the setlists from your current tour, it’s easy to notice that you have included almost no songs from your latest album “St. Anger”. Do you do this because of a mixed response to this album among both fans and critics, or is there any other reason?
Lars: I think we’re saving them all for tonight! Tonight you’ll hear “St. Anger” in full. (everybody laughs)
Kirk Hammet: We’re waiting for the 20th anniversary! (more laughter)
It is known that James made an unofficial visit to Russia a few years ago. There are speculations that he went to Kamchatka and even killed a bear there. Was that indeed the case?
James: Yes, I hunted a bear. A bad joke! (laughter and confusion in the audience)
Your previous gig in Russia happened 16 years ago, and there were a lot of rumors around it. In particular, people used to say that you were not met by promoters at the airport and that you were eventually delivered to hotel by bikers who happened to be nearby. Can you share your memories of that visit with us a bit?
James: We were met by bears! (everybody laughs)
Lars: …and Gorky Park!
James: I have great memories of that – there were many people, who were very happy to see us, and I’ve never had as many men hug me. (everybody cracks)
Kirk: Our performance was pretty great, and my memories about it are pretty good.
Lars: There was a movie made called “For Those About To Rock” on that day in 1991, which I think is probably the finest Metallica performance on film. I don’t watch a lot of Metallica on film (James coughs demonstratively), but when I want to show somebody something, I show them the performance from Moscow in 1991.
In 1999 you also played at the Rock Kiev festival in Ukraine. Is it true that you disliked that gig? Do you plan any more gigs in countries bordering Russia, have there been any proposals from there?
Lars (with a straight face): No, don’t have bad memories about Kiev. No, we haven’t been offered any other concerts around here. (in a merrier manner) But we’re always available – if you see this gentleman right here (points at the tour manager standing to the left of the pulpit), you gotta talk to him, buy him a handful of beer…
James: Birthdays, weddings… (everybody laughs) Whoever the guy who invited George Michael to come and play at his party was, we can do so to.
A question to Lars: you are known as a dedicated art collector. What are your latest acquisitions? Have you sold anything lately? Do you have any intention to buy something by Russian artists?
Lars: I haven’t sold anything lately, I continue to buy and have fun doing it. To me, it’s a never-ending process. Unfortunately we don’t have time to check out anything by Russian artists, because we gotta be at Copenhagen at bedtime for the kids tonight.
We live in an age of new technologies – do you use them when you record your CDs? And do you switch off your mobile phones when you’re in the studio?
(the band cracks) Lars: We switch each other off!
James: I think we should. They make this weird noise – ding-ding-ding, ding-ding-ding.
Kirk: We use Pro-Tools in the studio, but we only use it when we need to.
James has already made a joke about Megadeth today. But seriously, what are your current relations with Dave Mustaine?
James: He’s very talented, he should continue doing the music that he’d like to do.
Metallica on the Internet: http://www.metallica.com
Special thanks to Margarita Nekrasova and Darya Minayeva (SAV Ent.) for accreditation at the news conference.
Typing in and translation by Roman “Maniac” Patrashov
July 18, 2007