Metallica’s Drive-In Shows: “A New World Order Needs A New World Approach”
Last week, Metallica got together to film their set that will be shown in drive-in venues across America on August 29. Observing strict social distancing and with everyone except the band during the actual performance – “crew, light guys, sound guys, film guys, even catering”, according to guitarist Kirk Hammett – masked-up, the band say it was an odd experience, but a good way of reconnecting with one another. Even if, as Lars Ulrich observes, “there was significantly less people there than the last few times we’ve played.”
“It’s great to be playing again, great to be back together with the fellas,” the drummer tells Kerrang! in an exclusive interview.
“There weren’t as many people as we’re used to, but the joy of playing together and getting the chance to play at any level kind of supersedes any of that. So now we’re just riding high on the fact that it’s still possible to connect with each other at the moment. We’ll get it into the drive-ins, see what happens, then continue to experiment and reach as many fans as possible in the best ways we can. And it was good to get out of the house!”
On how to do the shows safely, Kirk explains that observing medical guidelines was important, if weird, but agrees with Lars that getting to play is worth the extra preparation involved.
“We had to take COVID tests every other day before it, and everyone in the entire building had to wear a mask,” he says. “It’s just something you have to do, but considering the alternative [doing nothing], I’d still rather do this than any other way. It felt really good to play again, to interact with each other and create energy together.”
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As to whether doing gigs like this is a good solution to music’s current touring problem, both Kirk and Lars remain open-minded. Both men admit that it’s not the same, but also agree that it’s good to experiment and try something to give fans something of an experience, even if it’s not what they’re used to.
“It’s interesting, it’s experimental,” muses Lars. “Obviously a new world order calls for a new world approach. We’re trying to figure out how we can still connect with our fans and how we can still make a difference and bring music to people in some way shape or form. Garth Brooks did one of these shows six weeks ago, he was the first one out of the bag, and then Blake Shelton did it, and now us! So far the reception’s been good and positive. Hopefully the fans will appreciate that we’re trying new ways.”
“It’s a good cause, entertainment, and it’s good to do things for people,” adds Kirk. “There’s a lot of bored people out there – myself included – so things like this and S&M2 can hopefully bring people out of their state of mind for a bit and find something good in the world.”
Speaking of S&M2, the live album of their show with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra is out the day before the Drive-In gigs, on August 28.
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