James Hetfield Talks Metallica Reissues: ‘There’s Stuff in There That No One’s Heard’
Metallica fans eagerly anticipating the group's upcoming deluxe reissues of classic albums Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning should feel only more impatient after reading James Hetfield's comments regarding the group's painstaking efforts to assemble the comprehensive deluxe packages.
Hetfield sat down for an interview published on the band's official site and opened up about a variety of topics, including how he felt playing back those old tapes — and whether he was tempted to adjust the production so it was more in line with his current taste and capabilities.
"That stuff used to bug me a lot more, say 20 years ago," said Hetfield. "Like they’re playing 'Seek and Destroy' from the album at the Shark Tank as the [San Jose] Sharks come out. And there’s the guitar sound. And I'm thinking, 'Oh, no, wish that it could be fatter and heavier,' but that’s how it was. Why would I change that? Why? That was where our heads were, that’s where we were sonically. That’s as good as we got it, and could have got it. So there you go, why would you change that? It’s the sound that is a part of the feel, is a part of the history, a part of the time."
Where the band was sonically, Hetfield admitted, was a place of extreme naïveté in terms of the studio and how they could use it. Looking back on Kill 'Em All's stripped-down production, he gave credit to producer Paul Curcio and the engineers for helping Metallica get their ideas down on tape.
"God, we didn’t think about it. We might have said, 'Hey, we like how this sounds,' put on Discharge or something and they go 'Okay, we can do that.' I’m sure there were greater, more experienced minds in there that thought we knew what we were talking about but we didn’t," said Hetfield. "By Ride the Lightning and for sure by Master of Puppets we had more of an idea what our sound should be and could be. You know, Ride the Lightning, it was night and day after Kill ‘Em All, learning that 'Wow we can do this?' and sonically making a huge leap."
Ultimately, aside from a remastered revisit to a bygone era in the band's history, Hetfield promised that the deluxe reissues will offer a treasure trove of unreleased material — some of which was scoured up with the assistance of the fans themselves — that they acquired during a lengthy search process.
"It’s gonna cost us this much more, and we might have to charge a little more, but who cares, it’s gonna be cooler! No one’s done this," insisted Hetfield. "There’s stuff in there that no one’s heard. Cassettes, interviews, things that haven’t ever been unearthed, ever."
The remastered and expanded Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning arrive April 15. Check out one bonus cut, a previously unreleased live recording of "Seek and Destroy," right now.
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