Bob Rock Talks Metallica: “I didn’t understand the sonics of …And Justice For All” – Interview
Having graduated from engineering and mixing hugely successful albums (Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation) to producing hugely successful albums (The Cult’s Sonic Temple, Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood) your career was on a roll before Metallica entered your life: did that make it fairly easy to reject their offer to have you mix their fifth album?
I didn’t really think of it in that way, necessarily. At the time, I was just looking out for the next best job opportunity that might come my way. I knew of Metallica, obviously, but they weren’t a band I was in awe of. I didn’t understand the sonics of …And Justice For All, because when I saw them live they were a heavy, weighty band and that record just doesn’t sound that way. That’s not a criticism, I know that to some people …Justice is the standard of what Metallica should sound like, but that was my observation from an outside perspective at that time, when the idea of working with Metallica wasn’t ever a thought in my head.”
St. Anger marked the end of the creative collaboration between you and Metallica. The turmoil and tensions behind the making of the album were captured with brutal clarity in the Some Kind Of Monster documentary, but how do you view that time now?
It’s hard to even put into words. Ultimately, I was there as a friend, trying to be there to help them stay together. That album needed to be made for Metallica to have a future. I feel like England and Europe embraced that record more than America, but that’s kinda a side story. No one knew what was going to happen, we just stuck at it until it was done, until the band were OK. My friends were struggling, and I was just there to help, to make sure Metallica didn’t end there. I am very proud of all the work we did together, but in some ways, maybe this was the most important work, because without it, there’s no Metallica today.”
Published in Metal Hammer 355