Interview: James Hetfield Of Metallica Talks SF Giants, New Music, Custom Cars And More
Before the second annual Metallica Night at AT&T Park, we talked with front man James Hetfield about his love for the San Francisco Giants, custom cars, what is next for the band and much more.
Watch the interview above or read it below:
Franco Finn: Tell us briefly, what brings you out here?
James Hetfield: We are fortunate enough to live in the Bay Area and hook up with the Giants. They are local boys doing good and we are hopefully in the same department as that. It’s basically a fun night. Celebrating local folks. Local music. This is our second time so we did okay the first time so we got asked back for number two.
Related: Metallica Night Recap
FF: You guys have gone through a lot of cool things lately like a movie. Through The Never was amazing. That was the last time I saw you guys. What do you think about the success of that film?
James Hetfield: Well, a new adventure for us. We are musicians but all musicians want to do a movie and actors want to play music. Something like that. The movie was quite an adventure and an amazing journey. We learned a lot. I really enjoyed how it came out and wished that more people would have watched it when it was in the theaters because that was the ultimate place to watch that thing. But the fact that it is out and about now on DVD – you can even get it in 3-D DVD. Yeah we loved doing that we love venturing out into different stuff. We’ve got some summer festivals coming up and then we’re going to start writing a new record.
FF: Lets talk about the new record. A lot of people want to know what does this album have that is different from the rest?
James Hetfield: Right. We want to know that too. We got to sift through like 800 riffs and see what the best stuff is. Lyrically there is a lot to work off of the last six or seven years since the last record. We are constantly inspired by stuff – not just books or movies or thing like that but life happenings, being parents, things that happen in life. Lyrically especially comes from within. We’ve all learned a lot in our lives this past six years. That will show up in there.
FF: What about the form it will be? Like Load/Reload?
James Hetfield: No, I don’t think so. Load/Reload was more like overload. There were a lot of songs and what are we going to do with all these. We can make a lot of songs pretty good. I think we learned a little bit of a lesson from that why not focus on eight to ten really good ones. It is quality over quantity. Not that they weren’t great songs but it seemed a little much to bite off and chew. And making the fans wait even longer and ourselves frankly … waiting longer to release something. We are going to be focusing on a single.
FF: A single first and then go from there and see what happens?
James Hetfield: A single album.
FF: Orion Festival didn’t make it past its second year but is there something like that coming down the road?
James Hetfield: You never know what’s going to happen. There are always hurdles that show up for us. Adventures. Orion was one that we tried. It didn’t seem to pan out. We had a great time. We had a blast at both of them and hopefully if you were there you were fortunate. I don’t know if it will happen in the states ever again. Who knows what will happen with that? Other things like going to Antarctica, playing in China for the first time, and continuing to do festivals and writing a new record. That is what is on the agenda.
FF: Besides festivals, recording, Through The Never, are there any new projects you’d like to get into?
James Hetfield: We don’t really sit around and talk about, “Hey, lets do this” or “Hey, we are ‘trending’ here.” There is no big powwow that happens. We sit down and it happens organically. Whatever comes our way is meant to be and if we can contribute to it – that is great – if not we let it go. There are plenty of things that come through the office that get binned because of priorities with other things. Next record for sure is what is on the agenda and doing some shows here and there. Get you chops up, get out of the studio, that environment and get inspired.
FF: I know you are big into cars, talk about the Black Pearl?
James Hetfield: No secret that I enjoy motor sports and cars in particular, building cars, building custom cars. Part of that scene. I love the flow of the cars and I love the art part of them. I love the sleekness and the uniqueness of each car that you can dream up. The Black Pearl is one of those things that – we initially had been taking other vehicles and cutting and pasting, making you own prototype in a way. This one we actually started from scratch. We started with a ’48 Jag and basically tried to work it, work it down to frame and build it up from scratch from a drawing. It took it to a whole new level of car building … from a drawing.
FF: Rock N Roll Hall of Fame has AC/DC, KISS, Metallica. What would be on your Hall of Fame ballot?
James Hetfield: I see Rush is in there now … a band like Deep Purple. It is remarkable that they are not in there. A band like Motorhead. For me is like the essence of rock ‘n’ roll right there and they certainly need to be in the Hall of Fame.
FF: How are we better that the Dodgers?
James Hetfield: In many ways. In all ways. Some of the other team were in the locker room just earlier. And they walk in and are like “Hey can we get something signed?” And yeah they are people too. Have a good game but just don’t beat us. You wanna wish them health. And doing better. As far as any athlete. We support any athlete that is trying to take himself to another level. I love rivalries as well … so … Nothing against LA. But we are just better.