I just watched Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, a documentary made during the writing of their album St. Anger. Even if it is long (2½ hours), it's an excellent movie. But not because it gave me any insight into Metallica's creative process or anything. It was something else.
First, I have to say I am more a casual fan of Metallica than I am die-hard. Much more casual. I don't think I heard of them before And Justice For All's One video made M.T.V. back in the day when M.T.V. played videos. The only album of theirs I've listened to in its entirety is the black album. So my opinion won't mean shit to the die-hard fans.
And my commentary on this isn't because the documentary revealed Metallica to be something I didn't think them to be. While many bands, particularly those in the metal genre, started off as hard-partying youngsters, as they age they are likely to morph into something else, at least behind the scenes. That much was apparent for Metallica when they all chopped their hair years ago and started having kids and whatnot. Fuck, even Ozzie with a brain like swiss cheese spends a large amount of his time like Martha fucking Stewart. That was the real reason for the popularity of his reality show, The Osbournes. It wasn't that he was fucking crazy. I think we all expected that after years of taking too many drugs and his legendary antics. What made that show what it was placing the crazy in what often appeared to be normal settings that many of us experience and then letting the insanity loose. But I digress. I expected Hetfield and Ulrich to be middle-aged behind the scenes.
So what revealed itself to me in the documentary? It was the utter inability of this group of men to live without a full time psycho-babble therapist in their midst. Even to the point that they were worried he thought he was in the band, and yet they still couldn't give him the boot. I've had my own experiences with therapy. There's good therapy, and there's meaningless babble. And watching 2½ hours of therapy sessions where everyone spouts mindless drivel disappoints me. It would disappoint me if it was my family, if it was my friends, my (nonexistant) girlfriend, or anyone I would think to be the no-bullshit intelligent type. And I always thought of Metallica as the
no bullshit band. And I was wrong. They were disappointingly human in a way I did not expect. Men who could not be honest with each other after over 20 years together. They couched their statements to avoid blame. They manipulated each other. They chased off Jason Newsted, which though it might have been good artistically, was done primarily because Hetfield had to maintain the upper hand. These people were fundamentally dishonest with each other and afraid of themselves.
And that insight is what I gained from the documentary.