METALLICA "Alive And Well!"

March 17, 2002, 21 years ago

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METALLICA’s James Hetfield recently gave Fan Club magazine So What! an update in the form of a handwritten note. It follows,

“James here. Alive and getting well. Wow, where do I start. Recovery is the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever attempted (along with parenting). Also the most grounding and gratifying gift I’ve ever received (along with parenting). I’ve so much to say, I feel I’ve been away a lifetime... in a way I have.

My rough road has become smoother reading the show of support from the friends I’ve met through Metallica. I’ve not seen nor felt such potent real heart connecting words put together as these. Thank you, they move me deeply.

My music and lyrics have always been a therapy for me. Without this God given gift I don’t know where I’d be. And now I truly feel the impact and connection.

It’s made with others. Struggle to struggle. Pain to pain. Human to human, not idol to fan, fan to idol. Clarity has put me in a humble and serene place to receive this connection in return and feel it helping heal me. Every breath I take becomes deeper and more confident of myself without my crutches. The lies I’ve filled my body and soul with aren’t needed anymore. They’re not welcome. I choose to live, not just exist.

I miss you all so much. And I am awaiting the time this deeper connection I feel to you will be in person. Love and respect, J.”

In other Metallica news, the band have invited filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to start filming them writing and recording their next album. The pair have been given unprecedented access to Metallica’s private worlds, starting last April. Nothing has been off-limits, meaning the duo have amassed hundreds of hours of footage embracing everything from Phil Towle sessions to 2 am riffs, and there's a lot more to be done.

"We've only shot 30 or 40% of it, so Joe and I would be hard-pressed to define the project because it's constantly changing," says Sinofsky. "We told Cliff (Burnstein) when he asked what kind of film it's going to be, 'why don't you ask Lars, James and Kirk what kind if of album it's going to be?'"

The band and the filmmakers first met when Berlinger and Sinofsky were making Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills, about the three West Memphis teenagers who were accused and convicted of a murder many feel they didn't commit. They asked if they could use some Metallica music in the film and the band agreed and refused to charge a fee. "It was really very, very cool of them," remembers Sinofsky, "and they supported the follow-up too. It was really the start of a deep and personal relationship which has grown between us all."

As far as the film goes, the last few months will also be documented in the final cut, even though it was hardly expected by the filmmakers. "Joe and I have dealt with some really difficult subject matter," says Sinofsky. "You don't wish bad news on anyone, but it unquestionably makes for drama and you're there to capture it. So the band going through some flux and some growing pains is the kind of material a filmmaker prays for. Of course, on a personal level you don't want people to go through their tortures and dealing with their demons, but ultimately for the Metallica fan, they will see things they've never seen before. And to quote Joe, 'I think right now we hit upon an amazingly important band going through some amazing changes."

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