James Hetfield: No Interest in Lady Gaga Collaboration Despite Lars Ulrich's Comments

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Lars Ulrich called Lady Gaga “the quintessential perfect fifth member” of Metallica following the group’s collaboration with her at the Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017.

But while the drummer may be interested in Metallica reteaming with Lady Gaga, guitarist James Hetfield says fans shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for it to happen. Blabbermouth reports that Hetfield was asked by Chilean newspaper La Tercera if the group had any interest in working with her or another pop artist in the future.

“No,” Hetfield replied. “But even just talking with her, being around her, her energy was very, very exciting. She has lots of ideas, and she likes to push the boundaries like we do. So it was a good fit.”

Hetfield explained that Metallica were encouraged to collaborate with another artist by the Recording Academy, which awards the Grammys.

“When we were asked to play the Grammys, we said, ‘Of course,’ we said yes,” Hetfield says. “But they need you to collaborate with somebody; they want to make it interesting. So I’m glad she was available to do it. She has a lot of integrity as an artist, [and she’s] very creative.”

In the days following Metallica’s Ulrich told Rolling Stone Gaga is “quintessential perfect fifth member of this band” and said he hoped the group’s performance with Gaga was more than a one-time thing.

“We already started fast-forwarding to the next chapter when we can do more of this,” he says. “It’s not one of those ‘20 lawyers, strategists and managers trying to force two people from two different worlds to figure out how to spend four minutes together on a national telecast.’ Of any of these undertakings, this is about as organic and authentic as there's ever been one. We’re just getting started.”

In his interview with La Tercera, Hetfield also commented on the Grammy flub that rendered his microphone inoperable for much of the performance, forcing him to share Lady Gaga’s mic. Hetfield was visibly upset at the end of the group’s performance, kicking over his mic stand and throwing his guitar.

“The actual show, live on TV, I was very angry, yes,” he says. “All the rehearsals, everything was perfect; up to there, everything was working.

“But, you know, out of my control. Something happened… I don’t know what happened. But the silver lining is that Lady Gaga and me were singing closer, and [there] was a little more collaboration. She’s an amazing person—very talented.”

Despite the episode, Hetfield said he’d be willing to give the awards show another shot.

“Sure. Why not?” he says. “I will have two or three microphones right next to each other, yes.”

As shown in the clip below, the dress rehearsal for the Grammy night show went off without a hitch.

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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.