Kory Grow of Revolver magazine recently conducted an interview with METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett about “Lulu”, the band’s collaborative album with former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Revolver: Did you discover any new things about the band or yourself in this process?
Hammett: Yeah, it showed me that we could still be truly spontaneous and in the moment. We wrote the songs right there on the spot, and the entire time I thought we were just coming up with some rough, basic tracks. But they sounded so good and Lou was so bent on using that and using those particular takes on the album that all we truly could say was, “Sure, we are capturing a moment, and it really is truly, truly spontaneous.” We haven’t been spontaneous like that for years and years and years, probably since the ’80s. [Laughs] To actually see that we were still capable of something like that this far into our career is very cool. Truly very cool. I think it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. I say that from a pure musical standpoint. I’m not saying that from a heavy metal fan’s point of view. I love it. I can’t say enough about how great I think it is.
Revolver: How would you describe the music you’ve recorded?
Hammett: That’s a really, really hard one. All of us were pretty much out of our element. [Laughs] We were all out of our comfort zone, and because of that, we came up with stuff we normally wouldn’t come up with. The heavier songs are just super different and loose but heavy. The more ballady songs were very, very—I don’t even know how to describe it. There’s a lot of strings. There’s a complete string section on most of the songs. It’s just something that’s completely different from anything any of us have done. And the fact that there are strings on a lot of it brings it to a different place completely. “Junior Dad” is 19 minutes long. And a lot of the reason why it’s so long is because of the strings. There’s a complete string section that we used as an outro and it works really well.
Revolver: Are you worried at all about how METALLICA fans will receive the album?
Hammett: It was a creative journey that we needed to embark on for ourselves, and I would say that it’s not for everyone. It definitely is not for everyone. If you can tune into it, I would say that that’s a great thing. But if you can’t really relate to it, that’s fine, too, because it really isn’t for everyone. I would venture to say that some METALLICA fans would love it and I would venture to say that some METALLICA fans would hate it. And I’m not trying to be safe or anything like that or trite, but that is how I truly feel. This was not a very accessible album. It’s artsy in a lot of different ways, but it’s something that we wanted to pursue creatively. And it’s something that we wanted to see where it would go, where we could take it. And it’s largely an artistic endeavor for ourselves, and we’re just inviting everyone else along for the party. Truly, that’s what it is.
Revolver: Do you have anything else you want to say about “Lulu”?
Hammett: I would just say that it’s something that most people won’t be expecting from us. All I have to say is don’t judge it by heavy-metal standards and maybe you’ll understand it a little better. [Laughs]
Read the entire interview from Revolver magazine.
Photos below courtesy of Metallica.com