James Hetfield Recalls Early Reaction to “Master of Puppets” on Howard Stern

Metallica appeared on The Howard Stern Show on September 26 to promote their upcoming album, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, ahead of its November 18 release.

The group performed the classic cuts “Master of Puppets” and “Sad But True,” shown below. Earlier that day Metallica released the video for “Moth into Flame,” the second track they’ve issued from Hardwired…to Self-Destruct.

“I do remember playing ‘Master of Puppets’ in this stinky little garage in Carlson,” Hetfield tells Stern, referring to Carlson Boulevard in El Cerrito, California, where the band shared a house from 1983 to 1986.

Asked by Stern if the band had a feeling the song would become one of their legendary tunes, Hetfield says, “God, it’s weird. We’re up there playing ‘Master of Puppets,’ screaming and going fast, and there’s some little kids down in the front going, ‘Master!’ And I’m thinking, What? Really? You like this?”

Have a look.

“Sad But True”

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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.