The musical collaboration between Lou Reed and METALLICA, “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.
The idea for these two giants of modern music to work together was born after the 25th anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame concerts in New York City in October 2009. METALLICA — singer/guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo — played with Reed on VELVET UNDERGROUND classics “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat”.
“[Lou] has a reputation for being a grouchy kind of guy,” Hammett tells Revolver magazine. “Once we started rehearsing [for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame concerts], though, Lou was just like, ‘Oh my God. This is great! This is what I’ve wanted to hear all my life.’ And that’s what led to, ‘Oh, we should make an album.’ And we all kind of unanimously agreed.”
After that triumphant performance, Reed suggested they all make a record together. At first they planned to record an album of Reedfraven’s older material, what Ulrich describes as “some of Lou‘s lost jewels — songs that he felt he’d like to give a second spin, and we could do whatever it is we do to some of those songs.” That idea “hung in the air for a couple of months.” Then, a week or two before that session was to begin, “Lou called up and said, ‘Listen, I have this other idea.’”
That idea was to record a series of songs Reed had written for American avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson and German theater group the Berliner Ensemble‘s production of the “Lulu Plays”, which premiered in April at the Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin, founded by Bertolt Brecht. The songs are inspired by German expressionist Frank Wedekind‘s early 20th century plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box”, and were a rewrite of Edgar Allan Poe‘s “The Raven”, which emerged as a graphic novel on Fantagraphics Press.
“I think it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done,” Hammett tells Revolver. “It showed me that we could still be truly spontaneous and in the moment. We haven’t been spontaneous like that for years and years and years, probably since the ’80s.”
He adds, “We were all out of our comfort zone, and because of that, we came up with stuff we wouldn’t normally come up with. It’s largely an artistic endeavor for ourselves. And we’re just inviting everyone else along for the party. This is 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 better.”