MultiMediaMouth was part of a journalist round table that interviewed METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, Central London, England. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
MultiMediaMouth: Where did the idea originate to have a narrative accompany the stage show [in the "Metallica Through The Never" movie]? Did it originate from one particular person?
Ulrich: No, it definitely originated within the band. We felt that if we were going to do a movie of this scale, then there should be something other than just us. So as we sat and talked around what that could be, we quickly felt that having a story in there would be really interesting, because it just felt unique and weird and challenging. Also, I guess to a degree, we felt that the reason "Some Kind Of Monster" ended up resonating with so many people was that there was a story in there; it wasn't just four guys making a record. We realized if you could attach a dramatic element or art to some of the stuff, then it could resonate differently with people, people can relate to it or find something in it in a different way. I think that with a movie of this magnitude, you're going to need something… pick a movie. Let's say "Iron Man", it's not two hours of him in the suit flying through space. There's something that's got to balance out the action sequences; otherwise, it's just going to be a blur. In many of these movies, they always cut away to something. They cut away to a wall or to animation. Or like in "The Song Remains The Same", they cut away to musicians in cars or riding on horses. In other concert movies, they cut to people getting in and out of airplanes, so we figured we have to cut away to something, but not necessarily James Hetfield eating a sandwich, so we wanted to cut away to something more interesting and that was the idea that Nimród [Antal, director] came up with.
MultiMediaMouth: Do you think that 3D concerts will be more commonplace in the future, what with ticket prices going up?
Ulrich: That's a good question. These sorts of things always go back and forth. In America, there's been a huge backlash against 3D over the last few years, and what we're doing with our 3D is not so much about 3D, like this [extends hand close to face], it's more about immersion and "Avatar"-esque 3D, more about you being in there rather than stuff coming at you. Now everyone in America is talking about the movie "Gravity", which I saw a couple of months ago at an IMAX screening; everyone in America is all, like, "Wow! 3D is back and it's bigger and cooler than ever," and people like the immersion of this film and so on. It's like this big pendulum that swings back and forth. Now 3D is hip again for the next two weeks, like "Gravity", George Clooney floating around in space, it's cool! Six months from now, people will be, like, "Fuck 3D!"
MultiMediaMouth: What was it like seeing yourself in 3D? A bit freaky?
Ulrich: I'm kind of just used to it. After "Some Kind Of Monster", nothing scares me; after that, it's all good, it's easy! So silly Danish accents and double chins and receding hairlines and all the rest of it… I'm pretty thick-skinned. It's kind of cool. I sat with an audience in L.A. at the Universal City after I introduced the film a week ago and watched the first two thirds of it on a big IMAX screen and it's pretty cool. "The filmmaker says about his film." [laughs] All filmmakers will sit there and sit there and go, "You have to see my movie on a big screen because that was the way it was meant." But this movie really deserves to be seen on a big screen, because of the sound and the whole thing, and I'm sure it's gonna play fine on this thing [picks up a smartphone] six months from now, but in terms of the immersion experience of it, that big fuck off screen? It's really cool.
MultiMediaMouth: Are there plans to take the stage show from the film on tour?
Ulrich: We're kind of getting away from all the theatric stuff, and what we've been doing the last 15 years has been mostly about the configuration. I don't know how much of that shtick is so much on our radar these days, but I think as you get 30 years into your career… I mean, when [producer] Rick Rubin sat down with us six years ago, he said, "It's OK to be inspired by your past and it's OK to acknowledge your past and it's OK to give a nod to your past." Because METALLICA had spent a lot of time, not necessarily running away from our past, but continuing to always want to re-invent ourselves [because of] a fear of repetition, a fear of being stale and stagnant or whatever. I think increasingly we're OK with these elements of our past. We don't want to dwell on them, and we certainly don't want to become a "classic band" in that way. We'd like to continue to move forward to the best of our ability and look forward. But I do think that there's a chance we may tour this stage, so all those shenanigans may be on tour at some point. We're not booking this tour as we're speaking; it may be in five years or something. Rght now, we want to get back to making another record and doing that again. But we'll probably tour this stage, I would say. The odds of it go up every day, as I hear people ask about it. [laughs]
Read the entire interview at MultiMediaMouth.