“Load was supposed to be a double album of 36 songs. Here, too, the band was different. Bands are kind of like family or a marriage; there’s kids, and everybody’s trying to get the house and whatever. You’re doing this thing, you’ve built the house, but then people have to deal with one another. When I first met Metallica, they were a well-oiled machine working towards being the biggest band in the world. When they accomplished that, it all changed.
“After the Black Album, they were the biggest band in the world. They toured for two years, and then when they got off the road, it was ‘Let’s go make another album.’ But James hadn’t had any time to write. He was writing while we were putting tracks together. With the Black Album, there were demos. Stuff was there. For Load and ReLoad, it was ideas.
“The way they worked, the songs they wrote – it was a new perspective, especially for James. We were doing 36 songs, and, well, he had to write lyrics for all of them. After a year, we had four songs written – we had all the tracks but only four of them were complete – and so the decision was made to cut it in half. I took it to New York so James could concentrate on writing.
“I remember talking to him. ‘What’s going on?’ I asked him. ‘Have you lost inspiration?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘There’s plenty of hate in me left, Bob.’
“I’ve often said that, during my time with Metallica, I never had the same band I had with the Black Album. Everything was different. Which is great – that’s life. You can try to do the same thing as before, but you really can’t.”