Metallica frontman James Hetfield has revealed that upcoming album Hardwired… To Self Destruct only took shape in the past few weeks, even though it’s been under production for years.
But he says that’s one of the advantages of having their own record label, rather than following orders issued by an outside corporate body.
Hetfield tells TwinCities.com: “We’ve been working on this record, realistically, for eight years. But it’s been two years starting to put songs together.
“Literally, the last two months is when it all started to come together. There’s no rules any more as far as you’ve got to do what the record company says or what the manager says. It’s got to be cool and fun for us – that’s the number-one priority.”
He says of Blackened: “As if we don’t have enough going on! We finally own our own masters. We can put music out our way. We even bought our own record press, over in Germany. It’s awesome. You can do colours, you can do whatever you want.”
Metallica performed lead track Hardwired for the first time in Minneapolis at the weekend, and they have a relatively quiet few months ahead before touring to promote the album.
Hetfield says: “We’re not planning to go out and kill ourselves for three years. We love the road, we respect the road – but it can kill you.
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“We’ve paid our dues. We want to tour smarter, be prepped for every gig, feel in the best health we can.
“It might be no two-in-a-rows. Maybe we’re only out for two weeks at a time. We want, by the end of each show, to know we gave it our all and we feel great about it.”
Looking back on the band’s recent career, the frontman says he remains proud of Lulu, their controversial 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed.
“Lou was such a character,” he recalls, “and just like any artist, was really insecure. That’s why he had a real friggin’ attitude. He was certainly not afraid to tell you what he was thinking.
“At one point Lars said, ‘You’ve got to trust me on this.’ Lou said, ‘Trust you? Fuck you – I don’t trust anyone!’
“I knew we had to handle him with kid gloves. But we earned his trust and he earned ours. I’m still blown away he wanted to collaborate with us.”
Metallica have released a video detailing the making of Hardwired. They’ve been confirmed to appear at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit show in Mountain View, California, on October 22-23.