An archived interview of Metallica‘s iconic frontman and guitarist, James Hetfield, was recently published by Metal Hammer. In the interview, James Hetfield discussed Metallica’s controversial producer Bob Rock as well.

Hetfield was asked about their late bassist Cliff Burton and what he might have thought about the course the band took in the ’90s. He thought there could be resistance but they were brave enough to do what they have done:

“Well, I certainly would have thought there would have been some resistance, for sure. I think the ‘Black Album’ was a great album and I appreciate the fact that we did have the balls to do that and have [producer] Bob Rock to work with us. It had to be, it really did.”

He also commented on what Cliff Burton would have done:

“But I think Cliff would have probably interjected some different stuff, getting his bass heard and some more musically challenging things, probably.”

He then continued:

“I would certainly think that the ‘Load’ [1996] and ‘Reload’ [1997], I would have had an ally that was very against it all – the reinvention or the U2 version of Metallica.”

When he was asked whether he was not comfortable with their ’90s period, Hetfield said:

“No, no, not at all. There are some great, great songs on there but my opinion is that all of the imagery and stuff like that, was not necessary.

And the amount of songs that were written was… it diluted the potency of the poison of Metallica. And I think Cliff would have agreed with that.”

James Hetfield was also asked about their album ‘St. Anger’ and whether it was a new start or end of a period for the band. He replied:

“Well, I’m not sure. For me, ‘St. Anger’ kind of stands alone. It’s more of a statement than an album. It’s more of the soundtrack to the movie, in a way. There’s some really interesting and cool riffs, some great songs on there.

But sonically it sounds fragmented, which is exactly where we were at the point. But in that fragmentation, it brought us together. So it was a very necessary piece of the puzzle to get us where we are today.”

James Hetfield was also asked about the band’s former producer Bob Rock and the fact that they decided to work with Rick Rubin instead in 2008:

“I think Bob… we had gotten too comfortable with each other, especially going through all of the emotional draining of ‘St. Anger.’ It was good to move on.

Rick Rubin is the exact opposite of Bob Rock. And the fact that we were able to sit down and write ourselves, do things for ourselves without Rick Rubin babysitting, that was where we were able to try our wings out again and fly as a band.”

He stated that it was the right decision:

“So it was the right thing at the right time. Not to talk bad about Bob whatsoever, because he’s taken us places that we never would have gone before. We’ve learned so much from him.”

You can click here for the source of the interview.