METALLICA Producer Explains Snare Drum Sound On ‘St. Anger’

Lars Ulrich

During a recent appearance on Tone Talk, producer Bob Rock talked about his final album with METALLICA, 2003’s St. Anger.

When asked about the infamous St. Anger snare drum sound, Rock responded: “I’m fine with that. The thing is, this is interesting, there is a story. While we were doing that [album], we went to their clubhouse. We were in San Francisco, we went to their Oakland place where they rehearsed with Cliff [Burton, the late METALLICA bassist]. And we had a great time, and Lars told me about his drums, how they were set up in a certain place.

“We were looking for inspiration, let’s put it this way, because James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] wasn’t there, so I said, ‘Pull off the drums, the double kick’ because we were fooling around with other drums,” he continued. So he set up the drums in the rehearsal room, we were on our way, and Lars just kept staring at the drums.

“Finally, he sat behind and said, ‘Just give me a snare drum.’ I had bought a Plexi Ludwig snare because I wanted to try it, and he put it on the drum kit, and he said, ‘That’s the sound.’

“And I said, ‘What?’… So basically, we did a demo, and I used two 58s, a 58 on the kick drum and a couple of whatever simple mics were around, and we did a demo, and that was the sound, and he just would not go back.

Rock added: “I’m not blaming him, this was about, basically, if you can wrap around a concept, this was the sound of the drums when they were rehearsing the album, it’s basically the closest to them being in that clubhouse, and no matter what everybody says, it kept the band together, and that inspired them to go on.

“So I’m OK with all the flak I’ve taken. It’s a f*cking snare-drum sound, give it a break.”

You can watch entire interview below.