Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Hear an Extended Conversation with Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield About <i>Some Kind of Monster</i>.
Poster for the Metallica "rockumentary" Some Kind of Monster
John Guardo, NPR
Lars Ulrich, left, and James Hetfield in NPR's New York City bureau.
Metallica is one of the most popular rock bands ever. Since it was founded 23 years ago, Metallica has sold more albums than Ozzy Osbourne, Madonna and the Beatles.
But not long ago, that rock 'n' roll empire was in danger of crumbling. Their longtime bass player quit the band, saying he had had enough of the group's craziness. Because of its hard-partying ways, Metallica's fans had taken to calling the band "Alcoholica."
And the remaining members of the group were having so much trouble communicating, they weren't sure they could get it together to record another album.
So what's a modern metal band to do? Metallica's response was, for a bunch of hard-rocking types, entirely unexpected: They hired a $40,000-a-month therapist and performance coach, and invited two documentary filmmakers to record their group therapy sessions as part of what they thought would be a film about the making of their latest album, St. Anger.
NPR's Madeleine Brand talks with the founding members of the band, drummer Lars Ulrich and singer/guitarist James Hetfield, about the new documentary that captures those contentious therapy sessions, Some Kind of Monster.