More than 30 years is a long, long time for a band to be around. What do you think are the factors that drive you to keep making music and to keep touring?
One of the factors is that there is always attention to detail and it's almost an addiction with Metallica, which is standard and there is this level of I don't want to say perfection,' cause nothing is perfect, but you know in song writing James may have five like words for one word. It's not okay just to throw some words together, there is a lot of thought that goes into what he's bringing. Lars is obsessive about the arrangement. There is a lot that goes into a Metallica song and I think the end result is always, most of the time, something quite special. That's what our fans feed off, we're refuelling them with the art we have as songwriters and also the stage shows as much as possible; we really try to give 100%. Then there is the physical factor where we need to train; our instructors take care of us so we don't pull a muscle or break a leg or anything like that. So, as we get older there are more things that keep us in tune with our performance. Everybody's commitment to the band is crucial 'cause we have a great team.
Do you have any choice in the support bands?
Our choice is to have local bands and the promoters need to find the best local bands possible wherever we're playing. And I know tonight we have a special local band [Van Coke Kartel] so I'm excited, hopefully we catch a couple of songs, it's not always easy, there is a whole routine that goes into our productions, but that's what makes us have a special show so, hopefully, we can go and see them.
Can we expect a new album from Metallica anytime soon?
Well we are working on new songs. There is a process of elimination and that's when we are going to take all the ideas, and we listen through and some don't make the grade, and most of the stuff you jam on and try a few different ways and revisit them maybe eight months down the line. So there is an extensive process of elimination before you get to actually writing that song. But I can say that the ideas that I have been hearing and have been a part of, to me are very, very exciting and I see us making a great album. I feel in my heart that we are going to do something special. Beyond this I have no idea what is going to happen 'cause, right now, it feels great and we are gonna do that, but the next album - we'll see.
You know what it's kinda like, you're looking at a mountain, a huge beast of a mountain that you gotta climb and you're trying to psyche yourself up for that. What route are we gonna take? How are we gonna do this? And you get to the point where you're like: Oh man, well let's start. So we are climbing, but we still have a long way to go, so hopefully in two years or less we'll have a great album for you. We will, but we are still climbing the mountain.
You going to have any time to do some sightseeing while you're here?
Surfing, only surfing. We went to, what's that place called? Llandudno, and we'll probably go there again.
Favourite venue? You've played everywhere, but where's your favourite?
You know every venue that we play has to be my favourite 'cause I want to feel connected and make it a special experience.
You have achieved so much as band. What's next? Where do you see yourself years on from now?
The interesting thing is that we have a 3D movie coming out very soon and that in itself has been an experience and a challenge. I believe it's going to be great. I've seen a recent cut and we have a lot of work to do - we're not finished, but we're getting close and I feel that the end result will be special. Now what this will do for us or where this will take us is unknown, you know, but I have a good feeling about it. I also feel that those are the experiences and challenges that make Metallica great and special and keep people interested. We did our 30-year anniversary shows just over a year ago at the legendary Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco - you know where Janis Joplin played and The Grateful Dead and all those special bands. But the thing about that is that we flew in artists from all over the world. So let's bring in Mercyful Fate, let's fly in Ozzy Osbourne, let's bring in Rob Halford lead singer of Judas Priest. There was this long list of people to bring in, that's a commitment, to fly them in, rehearse with them, learn their songs and get on stage with them. What band does that? I don't know of any band that does that, but those are the type of things we do - we challenge ourselves. Sometimes it's a glorious experience and sometimes it maybe doesn't work out. But those chances that we take are what make Metallica a special band.
Metallica will be playing at the Soccer City Complex, FNB Stadium in Joburg this Saturday, 27 April, 2013.