METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett has once again defended “Lulu”, the band’s controversial collaborative disc with Lou Reed, calling it “a real accomplishment.”
“Lulu” polarized fans around the world and earned METALLICA some of the most scathing reviews of its career. The effort featured the late THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman’s spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA‘s musical assault for a jarring experience that didn’t sound like anything METALLICA had ever attempted before.
Speaking to Marin Independent Journal, Kirk said about “Lulu”: “I have always been a big supporter of that album, even when all my friends are shaking their heads and looking at me going, ‘Bro, what were you thinking?’
“It was a real accomplishment as far I was concerned,” he continued. “We were there to help Lou Reed fulfill his vision, and I think we did that 100 percent. This was not a METALLICA album and it was not a Lou Reed album. It was Lou Reed and METALLICA together, doing something completely different.
“It’s not for everyone. But ‘Junior Dad’, I think, is one of the best things we’ve ever been associated with, in terms of real art and literature and music coming together. That, to me, is a real accomplishment, just as much as ‘Ride The Lightning’ is.”
Asked what it was like playing guitar with Lou, Kirk said: “He’s a really, really good rhythm guitar player. He had a good, solid rhythm pulse to his playing. He was really not into lead guitar playing, and he was really, really not into wah-wah. In fact, one time during a rehearsal, I set the wah pedal and he just walked up to the microphone and said, ‘Noooooo. No guitar solos. No wah-wah.’ And I was blown away. [Laughs]
“He had his musical preferences. He had his musical boundaries. And he was not shy in letting us know what those preferences and boundaries were.”
In a 2012 interview with Spin, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich admitted that the band was caught off guard by the vehement reaction to “Lulu”, saying, “It was more spiteful than anyone was prepared for. Especially against Lou. He is such a sweet man. But when METALLICA do impulsive riffing and Lou Reed is reciting abstract poetry about German bohemians from 150 years ago, it can be difficult to embrace.”
Asked whether the band had second thoughts over some of Reed‘s lyrics, like “I swallow your sharpest cutter / Like a colored man’s dick,” Ulrich said, “I understand that to some 13-year-old in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, it can all seem a little cringe-worthy, but to someone raised in an art community in Copenhagen in the late ’60s, that was expected.”
The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed‘s “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat” at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.
The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.
Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, “Junior Dad”, clocks in at 19 minutes.
Reed died in October 2013 at the age of 71, five months after he had a life-saving liver transplant, according to his wife, Laurie Anderson.