By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Metallica now star in their own film, a remake of the Grateful Dead Kennedys Movie with hangovers instead of acid. I'm not likely to see it anytime in the near future, because now that I've stepped on that landmine, I'm just a torso with all my senses gone. Also, the film is apparently even longer than one of their own instrumentals from the time they were a classically trained Crass. Metallica used to be a social-protest band before a Canadian producer convinced them to drop the subversive malcontentery, because up here in Canada we believe the government is our friend, and Americans' blatant disregard for authority is what prevents you from having a vibrant popular culture. Writing hit-single radio pop tunes worked, because they did a really catchy goth version of Vinnie Vincent Invasion's "Shoot U Full of Love" that was a big enough hit single to ensure that every bar band on MTV a decade hence would sound like Nickelback.
(Personal memo to the band who did "Enter Sandman" in a backwoods tavern last week: Fire the harmonica player and tell the singer to stop sounding like Wayne Coyne when doing Metallica covers. Actually, forget that. Add a fuckin' string quartet if you want, or even a whole orchestra! Who'd ever think of something so ridiculous? Apparently, Apocalyptica did--it was in the Neil LaBute film Your Friends and Neighbors, which, incidentally, was the second worst date film of all time. And if you laugh at me for being stupid enough to know this, imagine how you'll feel when I admit that I took the same date to Nil by Mouth the following week!)
Metallica's film, Some Kind of Monster, is apparently based on the question Is it possible to make angry music without being negative? Sure it is, but why would anyone want to? The band were great when their album covers featured brain-encrusted hammers and electric chairs; now they're competing with Garfield for the feel-good box office title! That's as in Dr. Feelgood, an album on which the Canadians fucked up another great band by cranking up the echoey bass until it sounded like the AC in a Chevy Tahoe--a nice bit of anticipatory cross-marketing.
A Metallica booze film should be an unrelenting exercise in nihilistic squalor and violence, like Nil by Mouth, or the Chuck Norris remake of Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie. (Besides resembling each other more and more, Chuck acts as good as Metallica's James Hetfield sings, and kicks ass as good as James plays rhythm guitar!) Not that I really want to see any real-life pain and misery in the happy Hetfield household, but these guys got very rich and successful by not making violent and crazy music to D.U.I. to anymore, and I want entertainment! Instead of inviting a psychiatrist in for their film, maybe they should've called on Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish furniture magnate who admits to bingeing regularly while at the helm of the IKEA monolith. He could've given them tips on how to run Damage Inc. while drunk off their asses all the time, and then he and drummer Lars
Ulrich could've talked about Scandinavian shit like tennis and suicide and garage bands who take days trying to create a sound like the one Metallica's latest album, St. Anger, took mere years to achieve. (Then again, the Grateful Dead's Wake of the Flood and From the Mars Hotel turned the skies black over many a skeet range. "Where are the Mcgannahan Skyjellyfetti and Mena Suvari songs?" we howled, secretly thinking it was really funny how the Dead sneaked out of Altamont. Terrapin Station had its admirers, but Shakedown Street and Go to Heaven only sold to Joy Division and Doobie Brothers fans.)
Canada is where James Hetfield told "socialist" fans to go if they didn't want to pay cash money for Load. Former bassist Jason Newsted must've been one of those pinko downloader thieves because he went and joined Voivod--who speak French, at that. Hey, guys, remember Venom? Remember their tagline, "Home Taping is Killing Music, But So Are We?" Venom never "grew with their audience" though, and now that Hetfield's fans all resemble him, there are responsibilities to consider.
So, no more guitar solos! Kirk Hammett never has to do another one anyway since he got rated higher than Eddie Van Halen on Rolling Stone's top guitarist list, courtesy of the same people who decided that Smell the Glove, or whatever Metallica's breakthrough album was called, was their first "good" one. Such thinking is a mass delusion on par with believing that Queen's Night at the Opera was better than Sheer Heart Attack. Metallica covered Freddy Mercury's "Stone Cold Crazy," but without the massed epiglotti, which is similar to quitting drugs and continuing to make records.
I actually don't think St. Anger is 100
percent terrible, meaning I've only missed this particular revisionist movement by about a year, but Johnny got his gun shaped like a bong and whaddya expect from an
immobile limbless torso? The album is anarcho-crust for the Imperium era, Flux of Pink Indians with their tits "accidentally" falling out on prime time. Or it could've been, if Metallica still did songs like "Disposable Heroes" or "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Now is the time for subversion! They should get back to the Bay Area and start writing songs with David Crosby: You must eat some of my purple berries and kick some ass tonight! Then they could talk about sperm. Lord, that was a freakish-looking discharge they stuck on that 1996 album cover. Like something you'd see if you were tripping during the "drums/space" section of the Metallica live experience--you won't get psychedelic thrills like that at an R.E.M. show. Miracle me a thing that should not be! Okay, page 1,287 of the Necronomicon, here we go: "Uug, uduug, uuga, gishtugbi... NO! NO! GIMME BACK MY GUTS! Arrrrghh! [squish]"