Some Kind of Monster was on TV a few nights ago. It has been a long time since I watched it, so I stayed up late to refresh my memory. I have been meaning to re-watch it for a long time, however with so much new content released each day, it’s hard to find the time to revisit something from the past.
Basically, Kirk and Lars are beholden to James Hetfield. That is the message that I got out of the documentary this time around. During the whole “James in rehab” period, Kirk and Lars did nothing and could do nothing. The documentary is really about James Hetfield and his personal struggles. By adding crappy footage of an art auction that involved Lars and footage of Kirk surfing, the directors were as diplomatic as they could be to the other members of Metallica. In the end it was all about James.
There is a scene. James and Lars are arguing about control. James doesn’t like how decisions are made without him being consulted and he is blaming Lars for controlling the decision-making process. Lars counters back by saying that even though James talks about having no control, James actually has all the control.
The band was on hold until James got his act together (one form of control), the band is working on a time schedule designed by James (another form of control), they cannot listen and discuss the “St Anger” songs without James present (another form of control) and they cannot make changes to songs once James has departed for the day (another form of control).
It all comes down to this. James could replace Lars, Kirk and Rob with other musicians and the band is still Metallica. However Lars, Kirk and Rob cannot replace James with another singer/guitarist and still call it Metallica.