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“I insisted on the band playing live in the studio. They had never done that before – all of their previous records were recorded in sections. I told them, ‘You’re a great live band. That vibe is crucial to the album.’
“On Sandman, I asked Jason to play more like a bass player and less like a guitarist. Put that with the new perspective Lars had on drums and we had a song with a killer groove.
“At first, based on the music and the riff, the band and their management thought it could be the first single. Then they heard James’ lyrics and realized the song was about crib death. That didn’t go over well.
“I sat down with James and talked to him about his words. I told him, ‘What you have is great, but it can be better. Does it have to be so literal?’ Not that I was thinking about the single; I just wanted him to make the song great. It was a process, him learning to say what he wanted but in a more poetic and open sort of way. He rewrote some lyrics and it was all there… the first single.”