Metallica frontman James Hetfield revealed how Metallica worked on a new album during the pandemic on Zoom. Papa Het also mentioned the possibility of a new Metallica tour in 2021, though the chances seem unlikely because of the pandemic. James Hetfield previously appeared on a virtual benefit of Little Kids Rock, in which he talked about his passion for music. During The Fierce Life podcast, here’s what the legendary frontman had to say about Metallica’s future plans, as transcribed by Blabbermouth.
James Hetfield on the new Metallica album
Metallica frontman James Hetfield revealed what the band did in quarantine. Just like Rammstein, they spent their time indoors creatively to write a new album, as they were not able to tour.
“It’s either touring or writing, so COVID chose for us. There wasn’t a lot of touring going on, so we get to write music.”
Asked whether Metallica was planning to release just a few songs or a full-length album, Hetfield gave an answer that would make the fans happy. They are planning their next installment to be an album, despite being selfish and meticulous in terms of choosing tracks. Let’s hope a bunch of good old Metallica tracks await us!
“Well, hopefully a new album. Whatever you call it these days — I guess it’s an album, a CD, a group of songs, a collection, whatever, a stream or however you get your music now. But, yeah, a bunch of songs. We wrote quite a few songs. So we’ll see how many we like first, and then we’ll put ’em out. We’re pretty selfish that way; we like what we write as well.”
Here is one of the songs they performed together on Zoom.
Hetfield mentioned how the band managed to work and write songs during the lockdown. Some weekly Zoom sessions allowed Metallica to write a bunch of new songs.
“Cause of COVID, just sitting at home and getting a little bit antsy and just feeling creative at the same time and wanting to get together, I started doing a weekly Zoom with those guys just to check in. And then I just told them one time, ‘Hey, I’m gonna write something. I’m just gonna play something and send it to you guys. You do whatever you want with it and see what happens and layer on to it.’
So that’s how we did a version of ‘Blackened’ 2020. I just basically played something. They hadn’t heard it before. They played on it. Then it kind of got layered together. Then we started experimenting with writing on Zoom. Lars and I would get together, or Kirk and Lars, and we would get little bits of time here and there writing.
It was difficult because of the delay in the sound, so we couldn’t actually play together, but we would play to a click track and watch each other play. We had our producer, who was running my computer while I was playing. He was running my computer from L.A., and I’m in Vail [Colorado]. And then Lars had an assistant running his computer from L.A. — he’s up here in San Francisco — and we were playing together, and it was pretty bizarre.
We started writing. We got about — I don’t know — over 10 songs going that way. And then we finally got together. There’s only so much you can do on Zoom.”
Let’s hope Metallica won’t make us wait so much until they release the new album.
James Hetfield mentions the possibility of touring in 2021
Papa Het talked about his skepticism of getting the vaccine, despite many of his friends being vaccinated. In terms of touring. the decision does not seem to be up to him.
“I have no clue. It’s not up to me. It really is up to the safety of everyone — not just the fans, but the crew and us. I’m not sure what that means in the future as far as vaccines. I’m a little skeptical of getting the vaccine, but it seems to be rolling out and people are getting it and I’ve got lots of friends that have done it. I’m not totally sure about it.
But I hope it doesn’t come to a point where you have to have that COVID stamp in your passport or something to go everywhere. But if it comes down to that, then I’ll make a decision then.
We got vaccinated to go to Africa, so it’s not like I’ve never been vaccinated before. But as a kid, I never got vaccinations ’cause of our religion [Christian Science]. So that was the only time I got one — when we were going on safari in Africa.”