Thrash metal pioneers Metallica have achieved a lot in their time. Their history is extensive, from being at the forefront of the hottest metal subgenre of the early 1980s to helping bring heavy music to the masses with the commercial triumph of 1991’s The Black Album. Whilst it has not all been rosy, as is well-documented, the quartet are one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, with over 125million albums sold worldwide.
The San Francisco group are still going strong today, and this year they released their 11th studio album, 72 Seasons. To celebrate the record, they embarked on a world tour in April, the ‘No Repeat Weekend’, where they will play for two nights in every city they stop in, running until August 2024.
Earlier this month, the band – frontman and guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Lars Ulrich – sat down with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff Arena to discuss their career. At one point, Ulrich maintained that nothing had changed for Metallica in 40 years regarding the four of them being in a room together, writing music and enjoying the possibility of where it might take them.
Lowe then asserted that “is the success” and that the critical and commercial triumphs are just a byproduct of the band sounding “unified”. Of how things haven’t changed, James Hetfield added that the band are “still chasing the ultimate riff”, something he says “will never die”.
Then, Ulrich offered an interesting appendage to Hetfield’s comment about chasing an ideal. Here, he claimed that the group are still pursuing “acceptance” and admittance to what he called “the cool kids club”.
The drummer said: “If I may add to what James said before… And still chasing some weird thing, maybe more so now than ever, and people roll their eyes when I say this… Still chasing acceptance or still chasing fitting in or still chasing like, ‘Hey, we’re still hovering on the outside’, and we’re these misfits and these disenfranchised musicians that don’t really belong in the cool kids club. People go, ‘Oh, you’re so successful’, it’s like yeah, but 40 years later, I still feel like I’m on the outside.”
Hammett somewhat jokingly echoed this, “We’re still waiting for the invites to the cool guys club.” At this point, the shocked host looked to frontman James Hetfield, who was sitting quietly listening to his bandmates. Asked for his opinions on the matter, he replied: “We chased that, but we don’t want to be in it.”
Hammett concluded: “As far as I’m concerned, this is the cool guy club for me.”
Watch the clip below.