In a brand new interview with Rolling Stone, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke about the band’s 2004 documentary, “Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster”, which followed the band through the three most turbulent years of their long career, during which they battled through addiction, lineup changes, fan backlash, personal turmoil and the near-disintegration of the group while making their “St. Anger” album.
Asked what he learned about settling band disagreements, Ulrich said: “I’ve learned that there’s nothing more important than the health of the band. Rather than force people to do something they don’t want to do, there’s always going to be another opportunity to create something cool.”
Regarding what he learned about himself from watching the movie, Lars said: “It was pretty hard. [Pauses] I have an ability to compartmentalize stuff that sometimes scares me because I could sit there and watch this whole ordeal but I can remove myself emotionally from the fact that that was me. I could ‘third person’ it. Some of the other guys have been more transparent about how difficult it was for them. We all dealt with it in different ways; I dealt with it by shoving it under a rug, which obviously is Psychiatry 101 that you shouldn’t do that. Some of it was just so difficult I had to emotionally remove myself. I guess it was too painful to watch some of the stuff unfold in front of me.”
He continued: “I was proud of the fact that we were completely transcendent and let people in. Obviously, there’s some of stuff that just felt like it was too private or almost voyeuristic. The people who criticized it said it was TMI. It’s that thing like, don’t meet your heroes because sometimes they’ll let you down. It’s just too much information for people, so, like I said, I would compartmentalize it. But don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the fact we did the movie and had the balls to share it.”
METALLICA released a tenth-anniversary two-disc Blu-ray edition of “Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster” in November 2104. The new edition of the film was made available digitally and via VOD for the first time. It also contained a new bonus feature, “Metallica: This Monster Lives”, a 25-minute follow-up segment filmed at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival during the premiere of the band’s second film, “Metallica Through The Never”.
The segment featured interview footage with the band and “Some Kind Of Monster” co-directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky in which they all looked back at the decade since the release of the film.
“The presence of the cameras helped keep the process on track,” Ulrich told TheWrap. “There was another set of eyes and ears there. Sometimes when somebody else is in the room, you watch your p’s and q’s a little more. I think it kept the whole thing from derailing in some peculiar way.”
While initially helping METALLICA towards restoring band harmony, the film shows “performance coach” Phil Towle, a former psychotherapist who was brought into the picture in January 2001 to help James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich repair their relationship with Jason Newsted, attempting to increasingly insert himself into the band’s creative process, submitting lyrics for the album and even attempting to join them on the road.
“We were at a crossroads,” Ulrich explained. “We had been really good at being able to compartmentalize a lot of this stuff. Suppress it with drinking or other extravagances. This was the first time we had to talk to each other, get to know each other and work stuff out … The cameras were there catching all of it.”
“Some Kind Of Monster” also documented METALLICA frontman James Hetfield‘s spiral into alcoholism and decision to check himself into a rehab facility. Hetfield‘s re-emergence from rehab is when the film really gets into gear, with the chief worry in his mind whether or not he could do METALLICA sober.
“Hetfield went away, but we said, ‘Why don’t we keep filming? Because we think it’s interesting,'” Ulrich told TheWrap. “We said, ‘We trust you guys.’ And they ended up being another set of eyes and ears in those rooms for the next 18 months as we dealt with the aftermath of Hetfield going away and all of the subsequent domino issues that came in the wake of that.”
According to Ulrich, METALLICA had no idea how fans would respond to seeing footage of the band’s touchy-feeling therapy sessions that ultimately healed the group and kept METALLICA from splitting up.
“As much as you want to control how people react, there are always things that throw you for a loop,” Ulrich explained. “The fact that the music world was a little bewildered by it and the fact that the movie world sort of embraced the film was not something we would’ve predicted.”