Reporting Jay Tilles
As the band unveils their 3D film, Metallica Through The Never, this week, the Bay Area foursome have taken to all forms of media to give their newest endeavor one final publicity push. In a new interview with Kevin & Bean on KROQ Los Angeles (a Radio.com station), singer James Hetfield recounted how the film went from dream to reality.
“We’ve had this idea in our minds for years and years and IMAX came to us over 10 years ago saying, ‘We’d love to capture the intensity of the Metallica show with the energy that your fans create,’” he said. “[This was] back when they were doing the National Geographic-style climbing Everest and things like that it didn’t work out for some reason.”
Eventually the two camps would meet and hatch a new idea: “Basically they married up and eventually we funded it ourselves and went out there and made this amazing stage, like the Swiss Army Knife of stages that has every prop from every single tour that we’ve done from the crosses to the coffins to the destruction scene and it is certainly the most dangerous stage ever built. There was plenty of places to get caught up, electrified, burnt, statues crumbling… But capturing it on 3D and in IMAX and the sound is incredible. It’s a bombarding of your senses.”
“So, this is like seeing every Metallica tour all at the same time,” Bean asked. “Pretty much,” Hetfield responded. “For all those that didn’t get to see Kill ‘Em All, Master of Puppets, we have all those props and there’s a story line to give it longer legs so it’s just not a concert footage film. There’s a lot of metaphors in this movie that will challenge the mind.”
“We’re super proud of this thing and it has been a labor of love. It’s like releasing your baby into the world.”
In addition to their movie’s premiere this week, the group found themselves performing, of all places, on the field at Yankee Stadium as part of a very special ceremony. Having hosted several San Francisco Giants games, Metallica are known baseball fans.
“Well, we had played Yankee Stadium before with The Big 4 with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax which was a big deal,” Hetfield said. “But this one was an even bigger deal as far as the sports world goes and historically. Mariano Rivera has been using ‘Enter Sandman” for the last 12 or 13 years of his career [as a walk-on song], so we’re totally blessed to have had him connect us through that song is a very historical moment which was him retiring at his last home game in Yankee Stadium. He’s the best closer in baseball history, and we showed up and played ‘Enter Sandman’ live for him.”
“You know what was odd, standing down there on the field while he’s getting all this stuff, and we’re standing right next to Derek Jeter and all these great Yankees that are standing there, Lars turns to me and says, ‘Shouldn’t we leave?’ like we’re invading their moment. And I said ‘Hell no!,’ I’m standing right here ‘til they throw me off!”