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Metallica's Final Interview In Playboy

Playboy Interview Traces Events and Emotions Leading to Breakup

CHICAGO, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Metallica, once a fearsome foursome that recently became a tattered trio, is the subject of Playboy's April Interview (on newsstands Monday, March 5). 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 band.

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 satisfaction."

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."


PLAYBOY REVELATIONS Courtesy of Inter Sandman

The April 2001 issue of Playboy has a startingly frank interview with Metallica. The interviews with Playboy's Rob Tannebaum were culminated separately, although quotes from the band were presented to each other for reply. The interviews were before the announced departure of Jason, although his departure is noted in the article's opening....

"I wasn't surprised that Jason Newsted quit Metallica." - author Rob Tannebaum

"A source within the Metallica camp told me Newsted is 'not 100 percent healthy, and has been playing in pain' - the bassist also told Playboy he would quit 'when the day comes that I cannot perform' with his accustomed ferocity. According the source, Newsted (who declined further comment) said he might move to Montana and not touch a bass for two years, although that's hard to imagine such inactivity from a guy who suffers anxiety attacks 'if I even try to go six days without playing music with somebody.' Newsted may have retired purely for health reasons, though the source admits that the bassist's clash with Hetfield was 'precipitating factor.'

More Playboy revelations:

Lars has separated from his wife.

Kirk was abused as a child by his father and a neighbor.

Cliff Burton was.. um, well endowed.

Kirk had a bad coke problem on Justice For All tour.

Jason has not spoken with James in quite some time, nor have James and Lars.

James went to therapy around the time of Load, and has taken to drinking again, though in a more responsible manner.

Quotes from the band

Playboy: What did they do you that was disrespectful?
JN: "Turning the bass down on AJFA. Not listening to my ideas, musically."

JN: (on Mama Said) "I don't think that tasted very good to me."

JH: "Mullets Rule!"

Side Projects / Enter Echobrain
JN: "I guess our understanding is that we don't want to be like other bands, where people go off and do side projects. I have made some incredibly wonderful music with other musicians. It would just floor people - it has floored people. But I just can't release it."

Playboy: "James and Lars won't let you?"

JN: "It's not Lars."

JH: "We just disagree about side projects. Fans have always viewed Metallica as something they can rely on: We're always there, always strong. We've been the same guys since day one, essentially. The only way you can get out of this band is if you die. When you say Metallica, you know who that is: Lars, James, Kirk and - uh, what's that guy? Jason (laughs). When someone does a side project it takes away from the strength of Metallica. So there is a little ugliness lately. And it shouldn't be discussed in the press."

JN: "James Hetfield is the heart and soul and pride of Metallica, the protector of the name. I'm not out to disrespect him.

Playboy: But he could respect you by letting you release the album?

JN: "We're getting really close to some things we shouldn't be talking about. I would like him to see that this music is truly a part of me, like his child is a part of him."

Playboy: What did James say when you told him that you wanted to release the album?

JN: "I won't go there. We have to change the subject."

JH: "Where would it end? Does he start touring with it? Does he sell t-shirts? Is it his band? Thats the part I don't like. It's like cheating on your wife in a way. Married to each other."

The band on Jason's material (we're guessing Echobrain):
KH: It's a great album.

LU: It's a nice record, very bluesy, like a poppier version of Stevie Ray Vaughn's stuff.

JH: It's respectable.

On James' various appearances as a guest (COC, South Park):
JN: "I can't play my shit, but he can go play with other people."

JH: "My name is not on those records. And I'm not out trying to sell them."

In closing, we leave you with this quote:
JH: "I don't mind being looked at as the asshole in the band. Well, within the band. As long as the fans think Lars is the asshole, that's fine.


Thanks to Inter Sandman



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