James Hetfield: “My Favorite ‘Hardwired’ Track”—and Six Other Things We Learned

(Image credit: Michael Hurcomb/Getty Images)

Metallica frontman James Hetfield recently sat down with Deezer to talk about the band’s new album, Hardwired...to Self Destruct.

In the video, he revealed details about the album’s creation, how he and Lars Ulrich work together, their differences of opinion about song length, and his favorite song from among Hardwired’s dozen tracks.

Below, we’ve collected seven things we learned about Metallica and Hardwired…to Self-Destruct from Hetfield’s Deezer interview. You can watch the entire interview below for his complete comments and to learn other bits of knowledge.

1. Hardwire to Self-Destruct was the easiest album Metallica has made. (0:10)
“Within that care of Metallica, there’s a kind of a ‘we don’t care to be too careful with the music,’” he says. “Obviously you want songs that are the best, and are great…but also a fun feel to it. And it came easier than most of the others.”

2. The album took a year and a half to make. (1:06)
“It was probably faster than any record, except, obviously, Kill ’Em All [Metallica’s 1983 debut], but it was over a longer period of time. We’d be in for a week, then we’d be with the children on vacation somewhere.

“So we felt fresh the whole time, and the fact that it was at HQ, which is our home—very comfortable and very easy…”

3. He and Lars Ulrich haven’t changed their working method in the years since they wrote their first songs together. (2:24)
“It feels different, but it’s the same,” Hetfield explains. “We get together, we talk about how our lives are, what’s happening, and ‘When do we start? Let’s go in and start listening to riffs…’”

4. “Murder One” was written in memory of Mötorhead bassist Lemmy, who died December 28, 2015, during the writing of Hardwired. (3:29)
“Lemmy’s passing…I don’t know how it started but I thought it would be really great to pay an homage, pay attention, to what Lemmy means to us and how important he was in making Metallica who they are…”

5. “Dream No More” is his favorite Hardwired track. (4:22)
“It’s really difficult because I love them all,” he says. “They’re still fresh for me... So I’m blessed that I like them all. But I think ‘Dream No More’—one of my favorites. Just heavy. And scary…”

6. He and Lars argue about song length all the time. (7:41)
“The attention span of the listener is shrinking and shrinking,” Hetfield acknowledges. “I understand. It’s hard for us to write a short song. It is hard. I think every song is its own album, maybe, to somebody.

“Lars and I do argue about song length all the time. I want shorter. He wants longer. And they are what they are…”

7. Becoming a legacy or nostalgia act “would be a major part of us dying.” (10:31)
“I think we’ve established that we’re not going away,” he says. “We’re not retiring. To make new music is very important for us…”

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.