Canadian producer Bob Rock, who has been responsible for some of the biggest rock and metal albums of the last 30 years, including all of METALLICA‘s studio output during the 1990s and early 2000s, says that he doesn’t foresee himself ever working with the band again, explaining that “they’ve gotta continue to move forward.”
Rock first teamed with METALLICA for the band’s self-titled 1991 album (a.k.a. “The Black Album”). The Elektra set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 281 weeks. Rock helmed METALLICA‘s subsequent albums, through 2003’s “St. Anger”.
During an appearance on VH1 Classic “That Metal Show” co-host Eddie Trunk‘s podcast, “Eddie Trunk Podcast”, Rock was asked if he would ever consider working with METALLICA again. “I just don’t see it happening,” he responded. “I think they’ve gotta continue to move forward. I think [with 2008’s] ‘Death Magnetic’ [album], they went back to their roots, which is great. And I think they’ve got a landmark record in them, and it’s probably brewing right now.”
Regarding what his relationship with METALLICA is like nowadays, Rock said: “I see the guys, [and] it’s like the day after when I see them.”
He added: “When you spend fifteen years with somebody, and [you’ve] kind of gone through all the things they’ve gone through and I’ve gone through, they’re a big part of my life — period.”
Rock, 60, told Reuters in 2006 that he felt “20 years younger” after his split with METALLICA, whose last studio effort, “Death Magnetic”, was helmed by Rick Rubin.
During the making of 2003’s “St. Anger”, a petition that some 1,500 fans signed subsequently was posted online calling for METALLICA to dump Rock, claiming he had too much influence on the band’s sound.
“The criticism was hurtful for my kids, who read it and don’t understand the circumstances,” Rock told Reuters. “Sometimes, even with a great coach, a team keeps losing. You have to get new blood in there.”
METALLICA co-manager Peter Mensch argued that Rock “nursed METALLICA out of almost complete collapse on that record. Bob is one of the five best producers on the planet. But it was time to shake things up.”
Asked what his opinion was of “Death Magnetic”, which featured a return to METALLICA‘s thrashier roots but was marred by accusations that the record was botched in the mixing process and sounds distorted, Rock told “Eddie Trunk Podcast”: “I get where they went, and they had to go there.”
In a 2006 interview with Revolver magazine, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich stated about the band’s decision to work with Rubin on “Death Magnetic” after spending 15 years and making five albums with Bob Rock: “In 1990, when we started using Bob, it was because Bob made all the best rock records that were going on at that time — MÖTLEY CRÜE, DAVID LEE ROTH, THE CULT — and he was involved in the engineering of all the BON JOVI records. Everything that was going on in the late eighties was all about Bob Rock. And now, everything that’s great about rock — from SLIPKNOT to SYSTEM OF A DOWN to the [RED HOT] CHILI PEPPERS to MARS VOLTA, and even the Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond records — it’s all Rick Rubin. The same thing that brought us to Bob 15 years ago is now kind of bringing us to Rick. We want to work with the guy who’s got the total finger on the pulse. And Bob was the first one to bless it, to say, ‘Look, I don’t know what else I can offer you 15 years later.’ We finish each other’s sentences. We know what he’s going to say, and he knows what we’re going to say. We made, what, like, five records with him? And he really had been the fifth member of our band for the last 15 years. As painful as it is, getting his blessing first was really important to us.”