Metallica have been making good on their early-quarantine promise to get to work on their next album, utilizing the lockdown to their benefit rather than sitting around idle. Lars, James and Kirk have all been in the press of late trumpeting the amount of material they’ve written (or partially written), and today we’ve got some words from Robert Trujillo on the same, as well as additional info from a very excited Hammett.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, Kirk once again revisited the traumatic experience of losing over 250 riff ideas when he lost his cell phone just prior to the writing process for Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, revealing that he’s more than prepared to overcompensate this time around:
“There’s a lot of material. I know I have tons, because I totally overcompensated. You know, last time around, it was a real shock to my system losing all those musical ideas. So, I was very determined to try and make up for lost time. I also felt that, creatively, I have so much more to offer this time around.”
Kirk said earlier this year that he already had over 600 ideas on tape, so Metallica fans should be prepared for a whole lot of wah wah this time. He elaborated on his recent productivity streak:
“It’s taking a couple of months, literally, for me to go through all [my ideas]. I’ve got a wealth of material, and so, at any given point when we all decide, ‘Okay, let’s start formulating a schedule to start writing songs and recording it.’ I’m ready. I’m there, from day one.”
In the same piece, Trujillo revealed that he expects to be included more in the writing process of Metallica’s next effort than he has in the past, saying:
“I’m not gonna speak on behalf of the other guys, but to me, it feels like this could be a very collaborative [writing process]. And for me personally, I love that. I love that we are in that head space to be more collaborative, and I think that’s very exciting for where we’re at now, the journey we’re about to take, the fact that those doors are opening like that.”
Trujillo also spoke about Kirk’s recent efforts, explaining of his bandmate of nearly 20 years:
“Kirk has so many ideas. It’s funny because sometimes it’s literally him in the kitchen and he’s cooking, and at the same time he’s playing you a riff, or you’re sitting on the toilet and he’s playing you some ideas. But when we started to understand that [the lockdown] was gonna happen, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s be creative’, you know? Let’s just get on it. A lot of times, when there’s a band that’s been around as long as Metallica has, you find that one of the biggest problems is, ‘Man I can’t come up with a riff, I can’t come up with any good lyrics, it’s just harder to write songs’, but that just doesn’t seem to be the problem with us. Not taking anything away from any other bands, but sometimes our worst riff might be another band’s A-list riff.”
That last sentence strikes me as a bit braggadocious coming from the usually humble Trujillo — surely he’s aware how many great, new metal bands there are, and that Metallica’s stature as “Metallica” automatically elevates their visibility regardless of riff quality — but I’d like to think he didn’t mean ill by that comment.
As for when all of these efforts could produce something meaningful in the way of completed new songs? Lars said in September that Metallica are looking to get together in a “bubble” as soon as possible to jam out some of their new ideas in person. It’s unclear whether that has already or soon will come to fruition, but Metallica are speaking as if they’re quite serious about this whole new album thing so I’d expect it won’t be too long if it hasn’t happened yet.
Metallica have been busy in other ways during the lockdown, too. In August, Metallica hosted a pre-recorded drive-in concert at hundreds of outdoor movie theaters and just released a recording of last year’s S&M2 concert. A re-worked version of “Nothing Else Matters” is scheduled to appear in an upcoming Disney film.