In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with heavy metal band Metallica from the April 2001 issue.
Hetfield: I took more than a year off from drinking—and the skies didn’t part. It was just life, but less fun. The evil didn’t come out. I wasn’t laughing, wasn’t having a good time. I realized, drinking is a part of me. Now I know how far to go.
Ulrich: Yeah, it is. So it becomes about “these greedy rock stars.” But understand, 80 million records later, I don’t know what the fuck to do with all the money I have. So now can we talk about what the real issue is? The real issue, for me, is choice. I want to choose what happens to my music. It’s pretty clear that the future is selling your music online. But common sense will tell you that you cannot do that if the guy next door is giving it away for free.
Hammett: I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden I was handsome. Did I wake up looking different? A fat bank account will make you look handsome. No one had ever treated me like that before in my life.
Newsted: One time, it’s four in the morning, they’re hammered and knocking on my hotel door when we were in New York. “Get up, fucker! It’s time to drink! Pussy!” You know? “You’re in Metallica now! You better open that fucking door!” They kept pounding. Kaboom! The door frame shreds, and the door comes flying in. And they go, “You should have answered the door, bitch!” They grab the mattress and flip it over with me on it. They put the chairs, the desk, the TV stand—everything in the room—on top of the mattress. They threw my clothes, my cassette tapes, my shoes out the window. Shaving cream all over the mirrors, toothpaste everywhere. Just devastation. They go running out the door, “Welcome to the band, dude!”
Hetfield: Lars smelled—he smelled like Denmark, I guess. They have a different view on bathing. We use soap in America.
Ulrich: American kids, there was this sort of compulsive thing about four showers a day.
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