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Teaming up with Lou Reed was ‘scary’ for Metallica

In this Oct. 24 2011 phoMetallicmembers James Hetfield left  Lars Ulrich right pose with musician Lou Reed New York.

In this Oct. 24, 2011 photo, Metallica members James Hetfield, left, and Lars Ulrich, right, pose with musician Lou Reed in New York. Metallica and Reed teamed up for Reed's latest release, "Lulu." (AP Photo/John Carucci)

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The double-disc set is being streamed at


Updated: November 29, 2011 8:22AM

NEW YORK — Metallica and the word “scared” don’t usually go together.

But fear was one of the emotions that band members felt when they began work on “Lulu,” a double-disc collaboration with Lou Reed, in stores Tuesday.

“That was scary, but it was also so exciting to think, ‘Is he going to tell us what to play? Are we going to know what to play? Is he going to start singing randomly?’ ” lead singer James Hetfield said. “We have had many different ways of recording, and this is yet another new way.”

Reed and Metallica, both members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first performed together at the hall’s 25th-anniversary concerts in 2009. They found that they had amazing chemistry together.

That chemistry prompted them to go into the studio, but the concept started as a work that was the brainchild of Reed, based on the “Lulu” plays (“Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box”) written by Frank Wedekind (“Spring Awakening”).

“This was the template from God,” Reed said. “It was written for a [Robert Wilson] play in Berlin, for the Berlin Ensemble Theatre. It was done there as a soundscape surrounded by various electronics. I lifted the whole thing, since it is mine, and brought it over to them and turned them loose on it so that on top of the electronics, [it] became Metallica.”

Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer, said most of the “Lulu” was recorded in four days.

“We had no idea what hit us, so it was a lot about just being in the moment and playing with each other and giving the impulsivity a chance to be the predominant thing instead of thinking,” he said. “It was a more physical experience than a mental experience.”

Reed has worked with everyone from the Killers to David Bowie, but regards “Lulu” as “the best music I have ever done.”

Though reviews have been mixed, Reed insists that he doesn’t care. “I wouldn’t care what a critic said about anything. There is no species of people I have less respect for.”


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