Metallica: The Lost Tapes

Metallica: The Lost Tapes

Oh bother. It was the headline, wasn't it? You popped in because you thought I'd unearthed evidence that Master Of Puppets was only one third of an intended triple album, or I'd found a version of Enter Sandman that segued into a nursery rhyme and sent small children to sleep. But no. No long-forgotten music. No experimental collaborations with Duran Duran or that bloke who once won the X-Factor. The Lost Tapes in the headline refers to an interview I did with Metallica frontman James Hetfield for a magazine in 1998. I thought about it the other day, whilst reading that the metal legends were this month celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band. It was about midnight when Hetfield phoned my flat in London for our 30 minute chat, and I remember that when I answered he said, "This is James Hetfield from Metallica", which I thought both sweet and uneccesary, as I only knew two other people called James and neither were Hetfields or, indeed, from Metallica.

This jolly trip down memory lane stopped abruptly when I remembered that not all of the interview was ever printed. Hey, I thought, it's Metallica month (if there is such a thing): why not dust it down and use some of the best bits here? I'll tell you why not - I couldn't find the file.

Nor could I find the actual tape, which was a bit annoying, but eventually, on a version of Microsoft Word so old you could see Bill Gates' fingerprints on it, I found 'HetfieldRaw.doc'. It was on a hard drive back-up that I must once have had the good sense to use and I dragged it onto my dektop to see what treats it held.

I'm bigging it up too much aren't I? Anyway - here it is. I'd say drum roll please, but Lars might be reading, and then it'd develop into a full-blown drum solo. And no one wants that...

Which song would you least like Metallica to do a cover version of?

Boy, there are quite a few. All the LA bands like Poison and Warrant, or another hatred of mine, that guy, what's his name? Long, curly, balding hair... Michael Bolton. Kirk came up with a Bob Dylan song that I cringed even listening to. And I dread Lars saying the 'O' word: Oasis.

Would you play a Bon Jovi song for $50,000?

That we could get away with. It's public knowledge that there's a mutual hatred of each other's music. Still, depends on who's paying. If it's him, I'm in.

What's the most stupid thing a fan has tried to sneak into a show?

I used to collect the stuff that people used to try and get in - cool knives and stuff - but someone once tried to sneak in a chainsaw under his trenchcoat. What's he gonna do? Carve a wooden sculpture, or does he plan on making his way to the stage the easy way?

When was the last time you went without facial hair?

It was on a trip to Hawaii with my girlfriend about three years ago, and I decided I wanted a full facial tan or something. We took a cheesy postcard photo at the hotel and sent it round and no one knew who the hell it was. My step-mom said I looked nice, so I decided to grow it back.

How do you unwind at home?

I got the studio, and I love my garages. I got a metal and wood shop in there, I make cabinets and stuff. I got a guy room - a pool room with a bar and slot machine, darts, poker table. Before I put the studio in there was talk of a shooting range, but I got kinda talked out of that. I can always go for a blast in the back yard.

Do you have a pistol in the bedroom - and would you use it if someone was breaking in?

Yes I do and yes I would. I actually have a shotgun in the bedroom. It'll paint the walls and the wife can use it too because you don't really have to aim. The alarm often goes off in the middle of the night but it's usually the cat - luckily I haven't shot it yet. There's weapons in all the main rooms.

Would you take your daughter to the ballet if she asked?

Ha! Yeah, I'd take her. I'd make her wear her Metallica leather jacket though. I've sat through the Nutcracker Suite every Christmas with the wife. She loves that. But there's not enough murder or guns or fighting in it for me.

There's more, of course, but allow me first to lose the file again and then pop something up here in 2021. Stick it in your diary.


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