In a brand interview with Clash, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was asked if the band had to make certain compromises along the way in order to be accepted by the mainstream. He responded: “It is interesting, because we have created our own mainstream, is what I believe. We’ve been extremely honest with ourselves, including the compromising part.
“There always has to be some kind of compromise — especially when you’ve got four guys in a band,” he continued. “You’ve got two guys that are really driving the thing — Lars [Ulrich, drums] and myself — and when we don’t agree, there has to be a compromise. But as far as doing something that doesn’t feel right, I’m sure there’s been a few times that it’s happened — the ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ era, for me, was one of those; the way that was looking, I wasn’t 100 percent on with it, but I would say that that was a compromise. I said, ‘I’m going with Lars’s and Kirk’s [Hammett, guitar] vision on this. You guys are extremely passionate about this, so I’ll jump on board, because if the four of us are into it, it’s going to be better.’ So I did my best with it, and it didn’t pan out as good as I was hoping, but, again, there’s no regrets, because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. So, even thinking that I need to compromise a little bit for the integrity of the band to go forward, I’d do that. But as far as the mainstream goes, I think we’ve been so honest and open about what we want and what we don’t want. You know, this is our fucking party. [Laughs] You’re invited! Everyone’s invited! Be a part of the acceptance of this and the adventure, and if it starts to get personal and you don’t like it, you can jump off at any point, because there’s always hopefully going to be someone who enjoys that enthusiasm about creation, and there will always be a seat for that person.”