Metallica frontman James Hetfield has admitted he wanted to blame everyone but the band when their movie Through The Never flopped in cinemas.
But once he’d calmed down, he accepted the musicians were fully responsible for its failure.
And he remains optimistic that something good could still come from the experience.
They spent over $30m of their own money on the 2012 production, including $5m on a specially-constructed stage – but the film made just $3.4m in four weeks of general release.
Hetfield tells Metallica club magazine So What!: “How awesome we thought it was, and how ‘wow, this is pretty unique’ we felt about it, at the end of the day, was its downfall. It was not so much a concert film, not so much an action drama – it was somewhere in the middle. It just fell right down the crevasse. It disappeared. And it was sad to see that.
“There was a time when I was just pissed, like, ‘What the fuck?’ That was stupid. I wanted to just point fingers everywhere.
“The distributor people, ‘They didn’t say what they were gonna do.’ Or just pointing at Hollywood in general. ‘They’re a bunch of shysters, man. They sold us on something that they knew was bullshit.’ Blaming the director, the producer, the casting, and blaming the management. ‘You all fucked up, man.’
“But at the end of the day, it’s on us. It’s our fault. We agreed to it, and there you go. So we’ve learned a lesson.”
He describes the experience as “bittersweet” and defends the band’s decision to avoid third-party investment in the project. “Someone’s money becomes an opinion. When someone else is investing, they have the space to come in and say, ‘Hey, I think this could do this.’
“All our careers, we’ve pushed people away who tell us what to do as artists. I don’t know if a producer putting his money into it would have brought something else that we might have needed – but I know that we made the right decision to not let anybody fuck with it. We’re paying the price for that. So be it.”
Hetfield adds: “Things happen for a reason. You might not see the silver lining right now – but down the line, who knows? Maybe the movie will make a mark in history somehow. Or maybe we’ve basically learned ‘don’t do it again.’”
Metallica are continuing work on the follow-up to 2008 album Death Magnetic. Bassist Robert Trujillo has just released his movie about late musician Jaco Pastorius.