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Metallica and Lou Reed Made a Dark, Loud Album Together


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The premise of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concerts in October 2009 was classic rockers jamming with younger bands. But when it was Metallica's turn to share the stage, frontman James Hetfield made an admission: "We're not the most jamming kind of band," he said. "We're a tight little unit here and don't let too many people in. Some of the names that got suggested didn't make much sense. But after meeting with them and jamming with them it makes complete sense."

The first person to join Metallica onstage has now become a BFF, mentor, and studio collaborator: Lou Reed!

"Some of you astute Bay Area residents may have picked up news of recent Lou Reed sightings in the greater San Francisco area and we have indeed been working at our home studio at HQ on and off over the last few months," the band writes in a statement on its website. "In what would be lightning speed for a Metallica related project, we recorded ten songs during this time and while at this moment we're not exactly sure when you'll hear it, we're beyond excited to share with you that the recording sessions wrapped up last week."

The musicians expanded on that announcement (and did some hard-core gushing) in an interview with Rolling Stone's David Fricke. Reed called their collaboration "A marriage made in heaven." Lars Ulrich said, "I don't think we've ever felt this free."

After playing together at the Rock Hall show, they considered recording an album of Reed's older material, then the Velvet Underground leader asked if they'd consider working on tracks he'd penned for a theatrical production of German writer Frank Wedekind's stories, Lulu. Hetfield's first thought was, "Wow, this is very different," but Metallica started writing arrangements. Fricke describes the result as "a raging union of [Reed's] 1973 noir classic, Berlin, and Metallica's '86 crusher, Master of Puppets." The only appropriate reaction to that is this.

[Photo: Jamie McCarthy/]

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