“Metallica, we like to challenge ourselves, whether it’s with an orchestra or making an album with Lou Reed, and so there’s this kind of weird love/hate relationship with the Metallica fans that they have, I think, for the band.
“There are times when they are just totally pissed off, and then there are times when they are just totally in love. And it’s literally back and forth.
“It’s like, some fans didn’t like ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ but then they liked ‘Garage Inc.’ It’s like, then ‘St. Anger’ happens and they don’t like ‘St. Anger,’ but then they like ‘Death Magnetic,’ or they didn’t like the Lou Reed album, but then they liked the EP ‘Beyond Magnetic.’
“We’re very fortunate, because everyone seems to be pretty excited about this new record, which is good.
“I mean, we’re not making albums necessarily for the fans…
“We laugh at that a little bit, because, you know, in some of the interviews we’ve done with some of the metal magazines… I remember a journalist saying, ‘Yeah, I had an argument with another metal journalist and he was saying that Metallica made a more thrash-oriented record on purpose to win over the thrash fan base,’ and that’s just so not true. We just do what we want to do.
“We’re just having fun, and, at the end of the day, when we put on our instruments, it’s like we’re teenagers again. Really, for me, nearly 15 years in the band, I still laugh at this, because in a lot of ways I see sort of an innocence to Lars, James and Kirk when we’re in the room and we put the instruments on.
“We start jamming Thin Lizzy, or sometimes there’s a bit of Maiden in there, or Judas Priest, Sabbath – we start playing around with different things, and the smiles just start getting really cool, and just the attitude and the vibe…
“So, we genuinely enjoy being creative and having fun and making music. It’s not like, ‘Oh man, I don’t have any ideas’; the problem we have is we have too many ideas. Actually, this album is all Hetfield riffs. These are all James’ ideas.
“We had so many ideas just with James’ ideas alone, we didn’t really have to dive into too much of our stuff outside of that, because we had some really solid ideas and riffs. And it’s great to have, because you know that there is a good chance there’s going to be a succession of albums post-‘Hardwired.’
“And even now, with a new producer – with Greg Fidelman, who we really enjoy working with… Again, Greg is versatile too; he made a lot of records with Rick Rubin, and a lot of records on his own, so he’s worked with everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash to High On Fire and Slayer, so kind of a nice assorted list of different types of musicians.
“Even recently, I heard he was doing some recording with Santana. So, we like that. We like people that aren’t one-dimensional, that have interests in a lot of different styles and different vibes, and that are really focused on the art of making great music, recording great music.”