Some Kind Of Bullshit
by Iann Robinson
What happened? What went wrong? Where did it all really start to fall apart for Metallica? As I sit writing this I’ve just come from seeing Some Kind Of Monster, the documentary that shows the creation of St Anger, an album which may go down in history as one of the all time worst Metallica records ever. The entire movie is them bitching and moaning about their "feelings" and how this creates a "negative energy" and all this new age bullshit that-when held up to who they used to be-makes you wonder who these guys are claiming to be Metallica. The movie starts off with Jason Newsted leaving the band after 14 years, part of which was because Metallica had decided to get a "Performance Coach" to sit around and spew dime store psychology shit for 40gs a month. Newsted knew, as I do, how lame that really is. Have the three men who brought the world to it’s knees with Kill ‘Em All actually turned into a bad episode of Thirtysomething or Dr. Phil> Yes ladies and gentlemen, they have. Some Kind Of Monster as a movie is really good, if a tad bit long but watching it is almost painful because it’s such self-involved, high school drama and what’s worse, it’s not rock. I doubt Lemmy gets weepy eyed about his feelings and I know Anthrax and Exodus would probably slit their wrists before paying 40gs a month to a head shrink to tell them shit that any human should know. As you watch the film unfold you begin to understand why St Anger sucks so badly, because it’s not made by Metallica, it’s these three old men who’ve gone from timeless to silly because they won’t just rock, they won’t just fucking put their bullshit aside and write an album, everything has to be some new age committee meeting.
The first and foremost thing this movie does is cement the fact that Lars Ulrich is a dick, just a crying, whining dick. He bitches about playing drums, that it’s too hard, he says shit like "When does an album begin and when does it end, what does that even mean?" It means write ten or twelve good songs and shut up about it. Then there’s the scene when the band is looking for a new bass player and Lars actually says "If Cliff Burton walked in right now, I don’t know if he’d be the right guy for the job." What an asshole thing to say, forget that Cliff Burton is still fairly unmatched in his bass skills, that just isn’t something you say about a friend. In my opinion (and many others) Metallica’s soul died with Cliff and as we watch the subsequent albums, we can see the failure scale start to rise. Lars seems way more into sitting in a private booth and auctioning off his art for millions then he does writing a record. He’d rather discuss and argue and talk shit then fucking play drums and in one scene he actually complains about a drum part being too hard and that he doesn’t want to play it anymore. It’s almost like Metallica is a way for him to be able to buy art, rather than his life’s blood. Dude, if that’s what you think then get gone, you’re doing nobody any favors staying in the band. Another great part is after they’ve auditioned Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Obsessed), Twiggy (Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle) and a few other players Lars says that only Rob Trujillo could "Keep up." And that the rest seemed like they "were struggling". I seriously doubt Scott Reeder or Twiggy were struggling with "Frantic", know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rob, he seems like a good guy and a great player but what Lars said about the other bassists is really fucked up.
Next up is James Hetfield and one thing Some Kind Of Monster did for me was make me sad for him. I think it’s great that he stopped drinking and that he wants to focus on his family, but then dude, break Metallica up, call it a day, it’s not like you need the cash. Watching Hetfield, especially after he gets out of re-hab, makes me think he’s scared of releasing the James that wrote those masterpieces of music in the eighties. He seems rigid, self-aware and homogenized to the point of where it gives you douche chills watching him try and write. The 12 stepper lyrics just don’t fit Metallica. I mean Christ at one point he lets Lars write lyrics defending the whole Napster thing, and it just doesn’t work. I think somewhere deep inside there lies the man that was James Hetfield and I personally think he could let that man out without giving up all he’s accomplished on the sobriety front. I think that comes with change, a change of band and a change of headspace. I don’t drink and I think working with Lars would drive me to become an alcoholic, so maybe the problem is the company he keeps. Watching the movie you can see hints and whispers of the driving creative force that Hetfield once was and that he’s afraid to "rock" at all for fear it’ll release the demons that almost destroyed him.
As for Kirk, he just seems like a confused friend caught in a war between 12 Step Guy and the Danish Ego. Kirk is a huge talent but I think he’s happy with his place just doing what he needs to do to get by and doesn’t want to rock the boat too hard. By the end of the movie I just felt that Metallica was done and over. A band that’s let everything influence how they write and now they’re just writing crappy songs to try and re-capture what they were. Most defenders of that record say "The songs are good, it’s the production" my response is "They let it be produced that way." Metallica calls it bucking the trends, I call it an insincere attempt to be "rebels". Everything they do now smacks of insincerity, especially the MTV Icon Metallica show (which I was on so I know how bad it was) where nobody from Metallica’s past was on hand to help them celebrate, just a bunch of hack bands who couldn’t cover Metallica songs on their best day. If I brought the Metal Up Your Ass-era Metallica to that show and showed them Limp Bizkit and Avril Lavigne performing their songs, they’d have given up right then and there. I know there are still millions of Metallica fans who think St Anger is good, but hey 8 or 9 million people bought the Macarena record, doesn’t make them right. I can already hear people clamoring for my head but I swear my heart is in the right place. I love Metallica, I always will and I want them to be remembered as one of the greatest forces in music, not a band that overstayed their welcome. I could be like certain "Radio Personalities" and kiss Metallica’s ass but I respect them too much to do that, even if people don’t like me for it. I’m not here to be popular, just honest. My advice to James is to end Metallica, call up Newsted and Mustaine and find a fucking killer drummer and start again. I think that could be the beginning of another revolution, spearheaded by one of the great geniuses of heavy metal.