By Micheal Monaghan
After over three decades of touring and releasing music, Metallica are more than a successful metal band, they’re basically a household name. Their tenth album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct was released last year, and they show no signs of slowing down. Michael Monaghan recently caught up with the thrash legends to discuss the current state of heavy music, and the band’s relationship with Ireland
What is your opinion on the current state of rock and metal music? Do you believe Gene Simmons who says ”Rock is dead”?
Kirk Hammet: I think metal is still important in this generation, even though there may not be any huge names emerging. I still believe that the scene is very alive and active.
I listen to Lamb of God and, more recently bands like Gojira and Red Skies.
I could actually listen to the new Gojira album on repeat and not get sick of it.
(To Robert Trujillo, who joined Metallica in 2003) What was it like joining a band that had been working together for more than 20 years?
Robert Trujillo: I remember the day i was offered the chance to join Metallica. I was a little nervous, but the band and staff treated me really well. What I found, is that it was very difficult to learn the amount of material in such little time! It took about 3 years for me to feel comfortable with the songs and setlists, even though it.may not have looked that way. I get a lot more enjoyment out of the shows since then.
What’s Metallica’s relationship with Ireland?
Lars Ulrich: Ah Ireland, it’s great. I visit when I can. The shows are always memorable, and the crowds give it their all. I was actually in Dublin only a few months ago. My wife is a lifelong Radiohead fan, so I booked some flights, a hotel, and we saw Radiohead live in Dublin. It was great. We considered bringing this tour, but the arena would not work due to the stage layout and the amounts of pyro we had planned. But I can tell you now we will return to Dublin in 2019.
Rob: I like Dublin as it is very chilled. I have heard many a story about every town in Ireland from Rodrigo (of Rodrigo y Gabriela). I played with them again last year at the Bottlerock Festival when we did Orion together. The sound they produce with only two guitars blows my mind. Rodrigo tells me that he still feels like Ireland is his home, and how busking the streets of Dublin has helped them get to where they are now.
When it comes to songwriting, what approach do you take?
James Hetfield: I don’t have just one approach to writing songs. There was one track on the album where I had all the words, and then we worked on writing the music afterwards trying to get it all to fit. But it’s different for other songs. I play with a lot of rhythm. I seem to find the rhythm of the songs easily, and then I need to work on the melody afterwards. Even in my vocals I feel they are very rhythm oriented.
How is the response to the new album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct,and what is your favourite track?
James: The response we are getting from the fans about Hardwired is great . We are currently playing at least 6 tracks from it at every gig, and the fans are going wild. Murder One is a very personal track to me, and I’m glad it’s on the album, so that’s my favourite.
Kirk: I really like playing Halo On Fire. The crowd really gets involved during that one.
Finally, if you could pick a new or sold song to sneak into your setlist for a gig, what would it be and why?
Lars: That’s a good one. I would add Fixxxer to the setlist as it was always fun to play.
James: I don’t know, there are a few that were really fun to play, but when I look back at past videos, I think there is no way in hell I can play that live anymore.