Metallica's next album won't be short for ideas is James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have anything to do with it.
The band's vocalist and riffmaster general has confirmed in a recent Sirius XM 'Town Hall' interview he took part in with the other three member of Metallica that he's been working hard on riffs, as well as building… bird feeders.
"For us, we're road dogs — we've been out on the road forever — so you're either on the road or you're writing," Hetfield explained. "So the obvious thing is, 'Well, we're not on the road. Start writing.' So, [I've written] tons of material. And I'm sure there's lots of musicians out there that are just, like, 'Okay, what can I do? I'm gonna write and just get into that,' which I love doing.
"I'd say the other huge thing that's come out of this is getting to stay home in my hometown here [in Colorado], so [I've been] building community with friends, doing outdoor stuff," he added. "We're pretty fortunate here up in the mountains that COVID hasn't really locked us down as much as some other places. And I feel for the people that live in the big cities. But out here, you can still get out, bike ride, raft, fishing, shooting, hunting — whatever it is.
"I've got lots of friends here that I couldn't have before," he revealed, "so [I've been] hosting barbecues and having people over and building a community with friends that I wasn't really able to do before. "Cause, 'Oh, I can't do that, 'cause we've gotta go next week. We've gotta rehearse. We've gotta do that.' So, [I've] actually [been] taking time to build true friendships. Not that I don't have them, but locally, it's been a huge thing for me.
He's not just been crafting riffs either.
" I love getting in the garage and just tinkering, doing some more welding," Hetfield reveals. "I welded a couple of things for the [Metallica's charity] All Within My Hands foundation… I've made some bird feeders. I'm right now staring out the window at about 50 different birds that come up here and eat. That's kind of my new TV right here. So, just enjoying nature a lot more and enjoying my life the way it is now."
Bandmate Kirk Hammett isn't slacking off either - he's claimed he has literally hundreds of ideas cooking on the musical stove.
"We have weekly check-ins, and the dialogue has been steered towards what we're going to be doing in the immediate future," Hammett tells Uproxx in a new interview. "And I've been using this time to go through all my musical ideas that I've come up with. In the last three or four years, it's over 600 ideas.
"It's taken me a couple of months to go through it all. But they've been sent into the big musical idea bank, and we're starting to talk about going through all that stuff, and exchanging ideas, and just starting to get the ball rolling towards creating some new material."
While the guitar part of 2016's Hardwired To Self Destruct was written largely by Hetfield, this next record could see Hammett a bigger part of the creative picture.
"There's a lot we can do remotely," he continued, "but I really think that we all need to be together in the same room, to really create some really, really, really great songs and music. The magic really happens when we're all in the same room, breathing the same air, even though that can be deadly."
Speaking of deadly, James Hetfield has recently received the honour of having a newly-discovered venomous snake named after him.
Atheris hetfieldi was discovered by a team of scientists led by Dr Luis Ceriaco, who also happen to be metal fans. The species of African Bush Viper, which can grow up to 52cm in length, lives at the base of a volcano on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea and it's notable features are described as a “a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance, which certainly is consonant with the image of a singer of an Heavy Metal band.”
We'll take their word for it.
Metallica's new live album S&M2 is out now.