JAMES HETFIELD: ‘Lulu’ Is ‘Not The New METALLICA Studio Record’

METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield was interviewed by the Argentinian radio station Rock Pop 95.9 FM before the band’s performance at the Rock In Rio festival in on September 25, 2011 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. You can now listen to the chat below.

(Hetfield‘s answers below were transcribed from the original audio by BLABBERMOUTH.NET.)

On how METALLICA‘s collaboration with former VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed came about:

Hetfield: “Well, at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, we jammed with him on the 25th-year anniversary, and after the playing, he felt so good, he felt so alive that backstage there were some friends of his coming up to us and saying, ‘What did you do to him? We’ve never seen him smile so much.’ And then he just yelled down the hallway as we were leaving, ‘We should do a record together.’ And we thought, ‘Yeah, right. Is he talking to us?’ [Laughs] But he was serious. He had told us that we’re the band he always wanted to have. And I agreed — METALLICA is the band I always wanted to have as well. [Laughs]”

On some METALLICA fans’ concern that the band’s collaborative album with Lou Reed, “Lulu”, will sound nothing like the METALLICA they know and love:

Hetfield: “It’s definitely different. This is not the new METALLICA studio record. This is ‘Lulu’. And that’s why we named it ‘Lulu’ — it’s not METALLICA [and] it’s not Lou Reed; it’s us together making something called ‘Lulu’. I’m sure there’s some METALLICA fans that will think that ‘This is the new METALLICA record. I don’t like it. I’m scared.’ And it’s not. This is a project that was presented to us that we wanted to challenge ourselves with. I mean, there’s some great riffs on there. There’s not a lot of singing from me on it. [It’s] Lou and his lyrics, with us writing background music for Lou. So that’s what we did. There will be fans that it will be difficult for them to understand, but we can’t stop being METALLICA, we can’t stop exploring what we wanna do as an artist. We don’t like limiting ourselves. But we’re not doing it just to mess with the fans; that’s for sure. If they don’t like it, wait until the next record where we’re fully focused on METALLICA, which we’re actually writing right now.”

On METALLICA lead guitarist Kirk Hammett‘s recent revelation that he and Hetfield were both brought to tears during the sessions for “Lulu” while they were recording a song called “Junior Dad”:

Hetfield: “[Kidding around] Yeah, Lou, he dropped his guitar on my foot and I started crying. [Gets serious] No… It was just a moment. When music moves you in a certain way, and I was totally shocked by it. Lou came out and said, ‘Oh my God, you two have to listen to this.’ And [I was like], ‘Yeah yeah yeah, I’ll be in there in a minute. I’m eating.’ And then I went in and we started listening and, you know, tears started and I couldn’t stop them. It was like, ‘Oh my God. I have to leave.’ I had to leave. Somebody came up to me and said, ‘James, you’ve gotta come to Kirk. He’s…’ ‘Oh, you too.’ It hit us, man. That was a sign that it was the right thing to do.”

On whether there are any plans for METALLICA and Lou Reed to take their collaboration on the road:

Hetfield: “We would love to do some shows — I don’t know how many, I don’t know where. How many can we do together? It doesn’t need to be 20 shows and it doesn’t need to be one show — somewhere in the middle there, I think, to give everyone a taste of it and just see what it’s like. It’s an intense record and Lou has stated that he doesn’t know if he can do the whole thing. But I think he will and I think he certainly can. It’s a very unique concept — it’s not a METALLICA concert; it’s not anthem rock whatsoever. This is kind of lonely… It’s like one-person music, in a way… for me. I don’t need to listen to it with other people; it distracts me, actually. I like listening to it by myself. So it will be probably small, dark places. [Laughs] Like my mind. [Laughs]”

“Lulu” will be released on November 1 in North America via Warner Bros. Records and one day earlier (October 31) in the rest of the world through Universal Music. The CD was co-produced by Reed, METALLICA, Hal Willner — who has produced albums for Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and Laurie Anderson, among others — and Greg Fidelman. Fidelman also mixed the record.

A variety of physical “Lulu” releases are available for pre-order at LouReedMetallica.com:

** 2CD Package – $19.99

Contents: Double CD with 24-page booklet including all lyrics.

** Deluxe 2CD Poster Set – $119.99

Contents: Limited-run tube including a poster of the “Lulu” mannequin and song lyrics, three high-quality prints of Anton Corbijn photos of Lou Reed and METALLICA, and the double CD of “Lulu” in a unique folding slipcase. Each tube is numbered. Dimensions of the tube are approximately 5.5 inches in diameter by 49 inches long.

** Deluxe Book 2CD – $109.99

Contents: Limited-run two-book set, each book 12″ x 12″ square bound with a hard cover. The Anton Corbijn book is 20 pages of photos taken of Lou Reed and METALLICA in Gothenburg, Sweden in the summer of 2011. The lyric book is 28 pages with lyrics from each song along with imagery from the objects collection of WerkbundarchiV Museum Der Dinge, Berlin, Germany. The two “Lulu” CDs are also included in the lyric book. All housed in a clear plastic slipcase.

** Vinyl 2LP Set

“Lulu” final track listing:

01. Brandenburg Gate (4:19)
02. The View (5:17)
03. Pumping Blood (7:24)
04. Mistress Dread (6:52)
05. Iced Honey (4:36)
06. Cheat On Me (11:26)
07. Frustration (8:33)
08. Little Dog (8:01)
09. Dragon (11:08)
10. Junior Dad (19:28)

Interview (audio):


2CD Package


Deluxe 2CD Poster Set





Deluxe Book 2CD