PHOTO: Shirlaine Forrest | Getty Images
James Hetfield says there will be “less but smarter and more potent touring” behind Metallica’s new album, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct.
Hetfield went on Philadelphia radio station 93.9 WMMR earlier this week to talk with host Jaxon about the group’s latest disc, which comes out November 18.
In the course of their conversation, Hetfield shared a few details about the music on the new album and the band’s plans for “selective touring” in support of it. He also offered his thoughts about the viral “Kids React to Metallica” video and Metallica’s possible future direction.
Below, we share six things we learned from Hetfield’s WMMR interview.
1. The single “Hardwired” is a good idea of what the new album will sound like…unless it isn’t. (1:14)
“‘Hardwired’ was the last song to be written, so it kind of is a summation of a lot of feel lyrically and idea-wise around the album,” Hetfield says.
“But that is definitely one of the shorter songs on the record. We’ve been known to have long songs [laughs], and there’s a few of those on this record as well. There’s a diverse feel, and that’s what we love doing. We like doing fast, slow, medium and all in-between.”
2. Metallica will tour behind Hardwired… but probably not as much as they have in the past. (2:57)
“I would love to play everywhere and anywhere possible,” Hetfield says. “But you know, this day and age for us, we again want it to be as sharp and as potent as possible.
“So there’s going to be selective touring, making sure that we’re as healthy and being able to deliver the goods on all cylinders, everywhere. There will be less, but smarter and more potent touring.”
3. If Hetfield could go back in time, he would tell his 1986 Master of Puppets–era self to take like easy. (7:05)
“Don’t think too much, just do it,” Hetfield says he would tell his younger self. “Just stop thinking and enjoy it. Enjoy life.”
4. He’s a fan of the “Kids React to Metallica” video that recently went viral in early September. (It’s below, if somehow you haven’t seen it.) (7:48)
“I love it,” Hetfield says enthusiastically. “It is beautiful. It is so great: ‘What are they, like 80?’ I love that. I love the honesty of children. They got nothin’ to lose, man. They don’t know what it is, and they tell it like it is for them. That purity is so inspiring.
“I’m pretty proud of those girls, too. Most of the girls in there were, ‘Hey, this is not my kind of music, but there’s something about it I really like.’ Just really absorbing it. And one gal is saying, ‘They’re really still playing? I guess that’s kind of cool.’ It was inspiring on all fronts.”
5. To the perennial haters who think Metallica have sold out, Hetfield offers a little heartfelt advice: “We don’t give a crap.” (10:20)
“You get different versions of it now online, with all the haters and the people that have some bone to pick and they just..whatever. They’ve got a resentment from 10 years ago, and they’re bringing it up on this new album. They haven’t even heard it. It’s, like, ‘All right. This is not a musical critique. This is someone’s pissed off and needing to get it out.’
“So, you know, we don’t give a crap. We love what we do, and we’re doing it because we love doing it, and we’re making music we wanna hear. We’re artists, and it’s as simple as that. And you can judge it all you want, but we’re gonna do what we feel is right for us.”
6. Don’t rule out some future changes in direction for the band. (14:36)
“We wanna do firsts, and there’s quite a few firsts that didn’t really pan out,” Hetfield says. “And then there’s some that almost killed us [laughs]—you know, certain movies and things—whatever… financially and things like that.
“But we’re up for trying new stuff and making it fun and bringing smiles to the fans out there. And that makes me smile.”
You can hear the full interview—and read WMMR’s own list of what they learned—right here.