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“The truth is, it’s much like how Motley happened. At the time, Metallica didn’t mean a whole lot to me. I knew about them – I saw skater kids with T-shirts and things – but when I listened to the And Justice album, I said, ‘Where’s the bottom end?’ I didn’t like the sound of it.
“But they flew up to Vancouver with their cassette tape and played me their songs, and I said, ‘Well, this I could do. I know what to do with this.’ Sonically, and in terms of production, I was just trying to make a great record. There was no conception at the beginning like, ‘I’m going to change them.’ We just made a no-compromise record. They wanted to go to the plate with what the album is. Regardless of the fans, we made the best possible record that we could. It wasn’t me guiding them.
“In terms of sonics, that’s what they really wanted from me. They said it to me, from what I did on Dr. Feelgood and Sonic Temple and Bon Jovi and a record I did for The Electric Boys. They loved those albums, and they wanted the power of Dr. Feelgood.
“The thing was, James had songs that he actually had to sing – things like Nothing Else Matters and The Unforgiven. He didn’t know how to sing – all he did before was yell. This was the basis of our friendship. I taught him what I knew. We took the time to get the record to that they wanted and what I wanted.
“I love the Black Album. It’s probably the only record I’ve ever done that made a difference culturally across the board. It changed a lot of things.”