Jun 162011

Blabbermouth reported this news this morning:

Metallica’s official web site has been updated with the following message:

“A few months ago our own Kirk Hammett hinted at a new Metallica project that’s ‘not really 100 percent a Metallica record.’ While Kirk may have jumped the gun a little (and has since been properly punished with a series of push-ups!), we are more than proud to announce that we have just completed recording a full-length album that is a collaboration with none other than the legendary Lou Reed.

“Ever since we had the pleasure of performing with Lou at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009, we have been kicking around the idea of making a record together. 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 [Metallica headquarters in San Rafael, California] on and off over the last few months. 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.”

I’d say this does qualify as news worth reporting. Even though my interest in Metallica has waned significantly in recent years, it’s still Metallica, which means I’ll listen to whatever they release, even though I’ll be holding my breath in anticipation of possible pain. And even though Lou Reed is now about 100 years old, it’s still fucking Lou Reed. First with Velvet Underground and then in his solo releases (and especially Transformer), he broke so much new ground that the word “legendary” isn’t an overstatement.

I’m having real trouble imagining what will result from this collaboration. I doubt it will be metal. I doubt it will be wild. It may be interesting, it may be good, it probably will be awful, but I have to admit I’m intrigued. (more after the jump . . .)

In thinking about this story, I started replaying Lou Reed’s “Take A Walk on the Wild Side” in my head. And then I decided I’d like to hear the song itself. I hunted around on YouTube, and in addition to hearing the Lou Reed recording, I found a video of Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros playing the song live. Strummer, of course, was the heart and soul of The Clash, and his albums with The Mescaleros include some of my favorite non-metal songs.

So, I thought, what the fuck, since I’m feeling nostalgic, why not use that video in this post. So that’s what I’m doing. And then after that I’ve got the video of Reed and Metallica collaborating on the Velvet Underground song “Sweet Jane” at that 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show.


David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine conducted an interview of Metallica and Reed about the collaboration, which is now available at RollingStone.com. It appears that Fricke has heard the recordings, and he says:  “The record, not yet titled, features 10 songs composed by Reed with significant arrangement contributions by the band that suggest a raging union of his 1973 noir classic, Berlin, and Metallica’s ’86 crusher, Master of Puppets.”  Fricke’s story also contains this:

“The result is at once unpredictable and viciously tight. “Pumping Blood” opens with a drone that breaks into a crunching march, goes into speed-metal gear and breaks into free-fall sections – all over seven minutes, cut live in one take. Another track, “Mistress Dread,” features Reed singing across a relentless staccato riff played at manic velocity.”

Okay, this is getting me intrigued again. Not excited, not yet optimistic, just intrigued.

Finally, Fricke reports that the reason there is no release date is because Reed does not have a record deal, and Metallica are no longer on Warner Bros., which means they’ll be hunting for a label contract for the album’s release. It’s not like they’ll have trouble finding one . . .

  5 Responses to “TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE?”

  1. Like you, I am not sure how I feel about this. I will give it a try, but I refuse to get excited about it.

  2. Not really a metallica fan, but velvet underground’s white light white heat was one of first forays into not mainstream music, so i’m mildly interested….

    But yah, no real expectations…

  3. I’m really not excited either. Even my nostalgic feeling has worn off. I think i will work on figuring out how to put tentacles into the site banner.

  4. I want to see those tentacles! However the tentacled banner turns out will be better than the last 20 years of Metallicrap, though, I must admit this sounds interesting.

    • Hope springs eternal. I hope David Fricke’s descriptions of the music are accurate, though I’m still having trouble imagining Lou Reed singing over “a relentless staccato riff played at manic velocity.”

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