MTV asked, "Do you have any problem with him walking out in a Metallica T-shirt? PLAYBOY: What would it take for you to drop your suit against Napster? ULRICH: I finished school in Denmark and moved to America to pursue a tennis career. The most I remember making—for what we thought was a huge gig—was between five of us. There was a Burger King right across from the main club we played—we took down a mountain of 29-cent burgers. "I'm going to get a Coke." "No, man, that's two more burgers! We'll steal beer from a back room, dude." Because otherwise it'd be boiled potatoes with ketchup stolen from Burger King. PLAYBOY: After you heard Cliff was dead, how long before you started to think, Hmm, Metallica is going to need a new bass player? Were they tough on the people who were auditioning? For quite a while, he was embracing alcohol at a different level from the rest of us. I go through cycles where I say, "OK, I'm going to pull away for a while." And then I take six months away. Someone sent me a joke CD, with a sticker on the outside that says, "And Justice for All—now with bass! I want to get happy." I'd plan my life around a hangover: "The Misfits are playing in town Friday night, so Saturday is hangover day." I lost a lot of days in my life. After that, he was just a lot more appreciative, thoughtful and compassionate. A band like Godsmack is just a cross between Metallica and Alice in Chains, with a bit of Korn thrown in. This band Rocket From the Crypt makes me feel good. I mean, Black Sabbath is my number one band of all time, but Metallica has done more for metal. The only way you can get out of this band is if you die. NEWSTED: James Hetfield is the heart and soul and pride of Metallica, the protector of the name. PLAYBOY: But he could respect you by letting you release the album? ULRICH: Ten years ago, we wanted to play as many gigs as possible and have as much debaucherous fun as possible." I was like, "Go for it." I knew about all that—I was just pretending to be sleeping. ULRICH: They have been inquisitive about trying to settle. Maybe I should get my shit together." I realized at that point there was more to being in a band than pissing people off and smashing shit up. ULRICH: American kids, there was this sort of compulsive thing about four showers a day. We ended up in Newport Beach, which is like the snottiest fucking area of LA apart from Beverly Hills. PLAYBOY: Had you seen Metallica while Cliff was alive? In Phoenix, with Wasp, before Master of Puppets came out. NEWSTED: One guy comes in, he's got his bass signed by the guy from Quiet Riot or something. PLAYBOY: Jason, as time went on, did the band stop hazing you? " ULRICH: It's the only record of ours that I'm not entirely comfortable with. PLAYBOY: You describe drinking and performing as therapeutic. HETFIELD: [Nods] Around the time of Load, I felt I wanted to stop drinking. Going to therapy for a year, I learned a lot about myself. PLAYBOY: James strikes us as kind of an enlightened redneck. He lives a certain lifestyle that's easy to poke fun at: He lives out in the country, drinks a lot of beer, has a bunch of guns, goes hunting. PLAYBOY: Three of you are married, two of you have kids. NEWSTED: Five years ago, the band took priority over all other things. Metallica is the biggest heavy metal band there has ever been. But Metallica is only one part of my musical life, OK? And they have serious, written-in-stone feelings about the band, about how it needs to be run. I guess our understanding is that we don't want to be like other bands, where people go off and do side projects. When you say Metallica, you know who that is: Lars, James, Kirk and—uh, what's that guy? When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of Metallica. NEWSTED: We're getting really close to some things we shouldn't be talking about. Now, playing 200 shows in North Dakota is not as stimulating as it used to be.The day before the show, Napster's lawyers pulled him out of it. He bought Styx and REO Speedwagon, bands he'd heard of in Denmark. I would spend all my time sitting outside their hotel in Copenhagen, waiting for Ritchie Blackmore to come out so I could follow him down the street. "Oh yeah, we're going to get money out of these guys." Then set up and play for an hour or two and the Scottsdale cops come out and bust everything up and that's the end of it. I miss the excitement of taking off work early to set up the gear at the club. Fourteen bucks for a shirt, which was all the money in the world at that time. He said, "You've got to get the paper, dude." I remember tears hitting the paper and watching them soak into the print. A couple of my friends got together some money to pay for a 0 plane ticket to go do my audition. I was definitely frustrated, fed up and kind of feeling unliked. If you're going to fill the shoes of Cliff Burton, you have to be resilient. He is the only one who ever actually poisoned himself. Me, Jason, Kirk and Cliff were always experimenting with different things to a higher degree. You hang out with other musicians, and next thing you know, you have five guys crammed into a bathroom stall. ULRICH: I tried acid once; I was shit-fucking scared. PLAYBOY: By then, you were spending more time with your father. It was never a real father-son kind of thing again. When the band started, everybody would sit around proving their heterosexuality by gay-bashing and stuff like that. James hasn't had a lot of experience with gay people, and that's a large reason for being homophobic. Korn has a much better vocalist who is somewhat intelligent. Fans have always viewed Metallica as something they can rely on: We're always there, always strong, and that's a band. PLAYBOY: Tell us about the summer 1992 tour with Guns n' Roses, when a pyrotechnic explosion set you on fire during a show in Montreal. PLAYBOY: Speaking of pain, do you ever get headaches? Metallica usually does from 150 to 250 shows in a year.They thought I would do something rude or obnoxious to him. PLAYBOY: Since you love Denmark so much, why were you in LA? I wasn't the best at talking—that came just from growing up in the environment I was in, kind of alienated. Once the band formed, I thought, I don't have to talk anymore. Then no one really understood what the hell the songs were about [laughs]. HETFIELD: I was raised as a Christian Scientist, which is a strange religion. I didn't make any money playing until I joined Metallica. And seven people show up but you still play like there are 700. We wore black armbands when we played our next gigs. PLAYBOY: They brought you to San Francisco for an audition. PLAYBOY: Pretty cheap that they didn't pay your airfare. PLAYBOY: OK, guys, who was the biggest drinker in Alcohollica? He would drink half a bottle of Jägermeister by himself, as well as drinking vodka. If me and James started drinking at the same time, six hours of hard liquor later, I would be passed out. HAMMETT: Jason's not so much of a drinker as the rest of us are. PLAYBOY: People who like fast music usually like fast drugs. I had a bad coke problem on the And Justice for All tour, but I pulled out of that, because it makes me depressed, basically. The only drug I've ever really engaged in is cocaine. A lot of people use it as a way to get closer to you, and you fall for that. HAMMETT: James used to be a raging, out of-control drunk, always fighting, always getting into trouble. I think a lot of that had to do with the passing of his father [in 1996, during the Load tour]. Like, "Oh, fucking faggot." Does that elevate you to some greater he-man status? PLAYBOY: We've heard James use the word fag jokingly. A lot of these bands get the right ingredients, the right formula, and—voilà—they have a metal band. I'm the only one who's not married, and music still plays the biggest part in my life. We've been the same guys since day one, essentially. HAMMETT: I have no qualms about not doing yearlong tours anymore.HETFIELD: My wife and I were giving birth to a second child [son Castor, born May 2000]. So Lars had to run with the torch, and there were a few bad moves.You know, Lars can get really mouthy and be a snotty-nosed kid at times.HETFIELD: [Grins] Because they're lazy bastards and they want everything for free. It hurt the fans' perception of us—they see Metallica as some big bad guys who wanted to take their free stuff away. HETFIELD: I don't want it to read "Napster has damaged Metallica." It's pretty difficult to hurt us. That's part of being an instigator and a forerunner.I like playing music because it's a good living and I get satisfaction from it. PLAYBOY: Aside from his natural garrulousness, why did Lars become the band's spokesman against Napster?
I thought it was so obvious: People are taking our music when they're not supposed to, and we want to stop them. On the Metallica Usenet group, there's an ongoing thread called "Kirk and Lars are gay." HAMMETT: That just shows a total lack of creative juices. It's pretty clear that the future is selling your music online. But with the spanking comes a huge explanation why. HETFIELD: It was my mom's second marriage—I have two older half brothers. It allows people to release aggression and tension in a nonviolent way. Kirk had a baby face that was appealing to the girls. We'd come offstage and there'd be like 10 naked girls in the showers. No one had ever treated me like that before in my life. PLAYBOY: What do you remember about the night Cliff Burton died? The door frame shreds, and the door comes flying in. That album will always be available in some format—whether it's on Napster or in stores, people are going to hear it. Fuck him." HETFIELD: We both need time away; me and that fucking guy have been together for 20 years, man. ULRICH: We've been in this scenario a hundred times before.
PLAYBOY: Were you surprised when you got booed onstage last September at the MTV Video Music Awards? I got offstage, and people were like, "Wow, you handled the booing really well." I was like, "What booing? ULRICH: I've always had issues with that, because I don't feel I had major psychological damage in my life. If you go to an Elton John concert, people have the same emotional baggage. I remember seeing his legs sticking out from under the bus. HAMMETT: Cliff was a very smart guy, a reader, very eloquent. I mean, no one before him and no one since him has played like that. They put the chairs, the desk, the TV stand—everything in the room—on top of the mattress. PLAYBOY: Your wife, Skylar, used to date Matt Damon, and he made her the model for the female lead in Good Will Hunting.
" PLAYBOY: That's surprising, because you looked really uncomfortable. It was the worst awards show, hands down, that I've ever been to. He knows what he wants, he goes for it and he's gotten it his whole life. I come from about as liberal an upbringing as you can imagine. So, yes, James Hetfield and I come from incredibly different backgrounds. We had these little testimonials, and there was a girl that had her arm broken. If you lined 10 Metallica fans up against the wall, you would get 10 different stories. ULRICH: And one of them would knock his head against the wall, yeah. I just don't understand why he went, and not one of us. People have copied him, but nobody ever had his feel or his prowess. NEWSTED: Metallica was the hugest influence for my band, Flotsam and Jetsam. They threw my clothes, my cassette tapes, my shoes out the window. HAMMETT: I just hope we can survive this in one piece without tearing each other's fucking throats out. A few years ago, Matt described you as "a fucking rock star who's got million and his own jet—a bad rock star, too." ULRICH: He said that before we met. The first five times I saw him, he would spend 10 minutes apologizing profusely. PLAYBOY: And you're an art collector, which is an unusual hobby for a metal drummer. ULRICH: Abstract expressionism, the Cobra movement, art brut.
And they're not going to get out of the gate in the same way Napster did. With every new technology some 19-year-old kid can come up with, somebody five minutes behind him can come up with a way of blocking it. But I think it can get to a point where it becomes sort of a nuisance, comparable to, say, bootlegging and piracy.
PLAYBOY: What did you accomplish by going after Napster?ULRICH: You have to understand, the whole thing was planned. I spent a lot of my time at his house, listening to stuff. When I become interested in something, I have to learn everything about it, whether it's Danish chairs from the great modern era between 19, or Jean-Michel Basquiat, or Oasis. It was weird having to leave health class during school, and all the kids saying, "Why do you have to leave? ULRICH: We had a list of 20 possible names: Nixon, Helldriver, Blitzer. Like, "OK, here's two girls, everybody get in line." People would say, "Eww, she just blew that other guy. You get some dudes to buy a keg, and you say, "Once people come, you're going to give us 40 bucks." You get the U-Haul stuck in the ditch, pull out some of the tables, put them under the tires and smash 'em up to get the truck out. In Arizona, if you have your gun showing, you can wear what you want. NEWSTED: One time, it's four in the morning, they're hammered and knocking on my hotel door when we were in New York. PLAYBOY: Why did they do that and why did you put up with it? He can take it to a different place, because he's Danish. ULRICH: [Laughs] I had much more of the binge mentality; I'd go every night for three days, then I wouldn't touch a drop for the next four. PLAYBOY: Are you uncomfortable with the degree of homophobia in metal? Ultimately, why do me and Kirk stick our tongues down each other's throats once in a while in front of the camera? I think homophobia is questioning your sexuality and not being comfortable with it. HETFIELD: Limp Bizkit seems a little cartoony to me. Like Rage Against the Machine—it wasn't singing, it was just some guy kind of pissed off, telling you his opinion. I have what is universally considered as one of the two greatest Basquiat paintings; I spent a year and a half chasing it down. No matter how much water you poured on it, the pain came back instantly. PLAYBOY: Metallica toured a lot less than usual last year.