Following Metallica’s visit to South Africa, comes the release of their cinematic 3D film trailer.
Sergio Pereira managed to sit down with Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo, before their Johannesburg gig to discuss Van Coke Kartel, why Metallica took so long to return to South Africa, the possibility of working with a South African producer and the band’s new 3D film.
Firstly, how are you enjoying South Africa?
METALLICA: I’m loving it. I love this place [smiles].
Many fans were upset about Van Coke Kartel opening for Metallica in Cape Town – their main concern was that they’re not metal enough. What are your thoughts on this?
METALLICA: As a band, we tend to not pigeonhole ourselves too much when it comes to opening bands. I love so many different styles of music. I saw them play and I thought they were really cool. They had a lot of energy – and the local fans should be proud of a band they can call their own. For us, we just want the band to have fun and to be great – whatever style they’re doing. We’ve had brass bands from New Orleans open for us – and that was cool. I don’t know; we try not make too much of a big deal out of it – but there are times, if you’re obviously at a metal fest, when you maybe want to have the heaviest bands on the planet.
Metallica was very vocal about loving South African when you guys were here in 2006. Why did it take you so long to come back here?
METALLICA: Well, we’ve been very, very busy. In the time we’ve been gone, we’ve made a new album [2008’s Death Magnetic] and had 5 kids [being] born, which makes things amazing, but it can also keep you away from South Africa a little bit. I think we’re gonna be back sooner this time, because we’ve had an amazing time these last few days. Kirk [Hammett] and I spent the last few days surfing our brains out with some amazing people, just really good people with warm hearts. There’s a purity here that’s still very strong. In a lot of places in the world some of that gets lost in the madness – and South Africa is a very pure place, man. We just had 2 great, smaller shows, but the crowd was amazing [grins]. The audience really made it come to life. Hopefully we won’t be gone so long this next time.
Fantastic, because you know South Africans get offended when bands announce world tours and we’re excluded?
METALLICA: [Laughs] I know, I know.
What about more smaller, “intimate” shows? Would Metallica be open to doing that throughout South Africa?
METALLICA: Well, it depends. We’re playing here in Johannesburg and there’s gonna be supposedly 40, 000 people coming today –probably more than that. That’s a pretty damn big show. It just depends what the demand is. If we’re gonna play in Durban or something, maybe we’re not gonna get 40, 000 and we’re gonna have to scale it back. We do like playing small shows, and we do that. We played the 30-year anniversary shows in San Francisco at The Fillmore – which is tiny; it holds maybe 1, 800 people comfortably. So, it just depends on the setting and also the demand.
Fan question time. One of our readers [Dougie Fick] asked: would you ever be interested in recording with a South African producer in South Africa?
METALLICA: With Kevin Shirley [grins]?
Perhaps. I don’t think Mutt Lange is available right now [laughs].
METALLICA: I think that’s been pursued [smirk]… maybe. Right now at this phase of the game, we’re concentrating on great riffs, potential songs and ideas – it’s great to be able to take a break from all of that and come to South Africa. We’re going to Asia in August – and that’s exciting. [Then], we’re going to South America in October… First things first, we’ve got to start getting our blueprints for songs together and make sure they’re the best possible – and then we see what producers are available. We made a great album with Rick Rubin the last time – that’s a strong possibility still – obviously there are no guarantees in anything in this day and age, but if there is a great producer, who has something to bring to Metallica, we will investigate it.
Next reader question [from Artur Pereira]: since you’ve been to South Africa, have you spread the word about it to other bands?
METALLICA: Yeah. I’ve been texting a lot of my friends who have been like, “I’ve never been to South Africa…” I tell them straight: the fans are great; the people are passionate; if you get there when the weather is nice, it’s like Southern California – the water is a little bit cold, but that’s okay, bring a wetsuit [laughs]; and watch out for sharks [bigger laughs].
Final reader question [from Wade Hill]: what attracted you to return to South Africa again?
METALLICA: The promoters obviously wanted us to come back and brought us over again. You gotta understand that when there is the demand, you realise that people do care. It has to come from the fans. Like the show tonight, it is pretty special for us and that doesn’t happen to every band on the planet. We’re still lucky to be around and relevant in a lot of people’s eyes. To look out in the crowd and see young kids out there, too: teenagers and kids, who were like 5 years old when we came out here last time, headbanging is really exciting. So, yeah, just make sure the fans spread the word and continue keeping us relevant.
Anything else you’d like to add?
METALLICA: There will be a 3D concert/narrative film Metallica is making. It’s called Through the Never and it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience, but there’s more to it than just that. So, I urge everyone to see it – even if you aren’t a Metallica fan, it’s incredible and worthy of a view.