Lou Reed & Metallica ‘Pushed as Far as We Possibly Could’ on ‘Lulu’
Lou Reed had very specific designs in mind when he asked Metallica to work on the upcoming album 'Lulu' with him. Metallica frontman James Hetfield says that Lou asked them to put the band's distinctive “stamp” on the new music, a request Hetfield considered “a great gift."
The somewhat strange pairing came together after Reed jammed with Metallica at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert in 2009. According to NME, the original plan was to record updated versions of some of Reed’s “lost jewels,” but those plans soon shifted. Lou suggested that they should instead record music for the lyrics and musical themes he had written for his new project, ‘Lulu.’
The stage production of ‘Lulu’ opened in Berlin earlier this year, but Reed knew that he wanted to do more with the project. “We had to bring 'Lulu' to life in a sophisticated way, using rock, and the hardest power rock you could come up with would have to be Metallica.”
Reed hasn't been shy about trumpeting the new album, and he clearly sees no reason to change his tune now: “This is the best thing I ever did. And I did it with the best group I could possibly find. By definition, everybody involved was honest. This has come into the world pure. We pushed as far as we possibly could within the realms of reality.”
Hetfield was initially skeptical, saying that he had “giant question marks” as far as what the record would sound like. However, seeing Reed’s lyrics brought answers to a lot of those questions, giving the project some concrete scope. The lyrical direction also helped to free his mind to focus on the musical side of things, a process that he and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich are well acquainted with.
“These were very potent lyrics, with a soundscape behind them for atmosphere. Lars and I sat there with an acoustic and let this blank canvas take us where it needed to go.”
Parts of Reed's lyrics for ‘Lulu’ opened up the tear ducts for the members of Metallica, so if you cry easily, you might want to have a few tissues ready when the album is released on Nov. 1.