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article imageMetallica's Final Interview In Playboy

By Rob Tannenbaum     Mar 2, 2001 in Lifestyle
CHICAGO - Metallica, once a fearsome foursome that recently became a tattered trio, is the subject of Playboy's April Interview. In January, during the band's longest hiatus from recording and touring, this heavy metal juggernaut announced the departure of its bass player, Jason Newsted. This coincides with Metallica's major victory over Napster, making them the most newsworthy band of the year.
On a mid-January morning, in the middle of the longest respite from
touring and recording the band had ever taken, Metallica issued a terse but
emotional press release, in which bassist Jason Newsted announced his
departure from the group because of "private and personal reasons and the
physical damage I have done to myself over the years." A few hours later, a
source close to Metallica told Playboy that Newsted's decision had capped a
nine-and-a-half-hour band meeting the day before at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in
San Francisco, the sequel to a similar marathon caucus a week earlier.
Newsted's resignation, the source said, had been "very well discussed" by the
Music journalist Rob Tannenbaum, who met with the members separately,
writes in Playboy, "I wasn't surprised that Jason Newsted quit Metallica.
Just two months earlier, I'd spent a day with each of the four, and I've never
seen a band so quarrelsome and fractious. Each talked about his need for
solitude. The most unhappy Metallican was Newsted, whom I met at a Marin
County recording studio. Newsted gradually admitted that he felt 'almost
stifled' in Metallica. He added, 'I would not leave Metallica for another
band. I would do it to live my life, not depart to play in another band.'
According to [a source close to the band], Newsted said he might move to
Montana and not touch a bass for two years. [The source also] admits that the
bassist's clash with Hetfield was a 'precipitating factor.'"
In the April Playboy Interview, Metallica discuss their war against
Napster, their wars with each other, sleeping with groupies and much more.
Drummer Lars Ulrich says, "It's an interesting time to interview the four of
us separately. You're hearing people get things off their chest -- almost
using you as the middle man." Hetfield adds, "It is a pretty difficult time
for us right now."
The following are selected quotes from the April Playboy Interview:
On Metallica's war against Napster and Metallica fans siding with Napster:
Ulrich: "Obviously, this has been the f*cking wake-up call of the millennium to everybody who has anything to do with intellectual property."
On fans not sympathizing with the rich, Ulrich says, "So it becomes about
'these greedy rock stars.' But understand, 80 million records later, I don't
know what the f*ck to do with all the money I have. The real issue, for me,
is choice. I want to choose what happens to my music."
Hetfield: "[Metallica fans sided with Napster] Because they're lazy
bastards and they want everything for free. I like playing music because it's
a good living and I get satisfaction from it. But I can't feed my family with
Ulrich: "If you'd stop being a Metallica fan because I won't give you my
music for free, then f*ck you. I don't want you to be a Metallica fan."
Hetfield: "I've gotten in plenty of arguments with fans who just wanted
to 'discuss' it. This poor girl in Atlanta, I made her cry. She felt money
was evil. Why don't you go live in Canada or some socialist country?"
On band conflict:
Hammett: "There are a lot of soap operas and petty dramas that come with
being in this band."
Hetfield: "I remember throwing [Ulrich] 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."
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."
Newsted: On his love of music: "Five years ago, the band took priority
over all other things. Now, families come first. I understand that. A
family is more important. I'm the only one who's not married, and music still
plays the biggest part in my life. Metallica is the biggest heavy metal band
there has ever been. Those guys will be happy taking six months away from the
music. They have other things on their minds. If I even try to go six days
without playing with somebody, I have anxiety-type things happen."
Newsted: On taking time off: "James and Lars started this thing together.
They came through all of the hardships. And they have serious, written-in-
stone feelings about the band, about how it needs to be run. That's very,
very hard to swallow sometimes."
On criticism:
Hammett: "When the second album came out, we had slow songs, for God's
sake! Even our fans f*cking criticize us. We have bulletproof vests on when
it comes to criticism. We feed off of it."
Hetfield: "Metallica loves to be hated."
On groupies, Ulrich says, "We all had some pretty slutty moments. I don't
think there's anybody in this band who hasn't had crabs a couple of times, or
the occasional drip-d*ck."
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