“For us it was never about making money.
“When we talked about money in the early days, it was simply resources to continue, that was it. Everything that we made went into sustaining the existence of the band and the people in the band.
“And obviously as it grows, you gotta take care of some of the people that are around you and so on. But everything was just about sustaining the entity.
“And the Napster thing, people saying that Metallica is greedy… I can look everyone of you guys in the eye and tell you that we don’t care about the money element.
“The primary m.o. for the money is to get it back in so we could spend millions of dollars on new stages and new productions and running our own record companies and being independent.
“What independence affords you is complete creative control.
“So when you have the money, you can pay for your own records, you can pay for your own movies – good or bad… [laughs] – you can pay for your own videos, you can pay for whatever the fuck it is you want to pay for and that way you don’t owe anybody any money.
“And you never have to take a phone call from them at 4 o’clock in the morning. It was one of the first things [manager] Cliff [Burnstein] ever told me, ‘I don’t have to leave my phone plugged in at 4 o’clock in the morning because nobody’s ever gonna call, because there’s nobody I have to answer to.’
“It was one of those life lessons. It’s like if you can get to a point of complete not just creative autonomy but economical and financial autonomy and independence, you’re in Fat City.
“You don’t have to leave your phone on at night in terms of people calling and asking. You have to leave your phone on if you’re a parent to make sure your kids are okay, but you don’t have to wait for a guy to call and say something about the record you did or the video you did or some interview or some gig, because you’re completely free.
“And that is the coolest thing about being in Metallica in 2017.”