Metallica frontman James Hetfield admitted that drummer Lars Ulrich was still able to leave him feeling “wound up” despite more than four decades of collaboration.

In a new interview with the official band fanzine So What!, Hetfield revealed there was sometimes tension over references to older songs that changed titles before they were completed.

“I can get wound up because Lars can name a certain song from three albums ago, and he still calls it by the working title,” the guitarist and singer said. “You know, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s the “Black Squirrel” riff.’ Like, ‘What the hell are you talking about? Oh, you mean “Cyanide?” Yeah. Yes, I do.’ And I can take that as a slight on not wanting to include the lyrical content into that piece of art, or I can just say that’s where his head was. He remembers that riff and putting that riff in that song, and that’s where he’s at.”

Hetfield noted that he is more or less left alone to write the lyrics he wants. "There have been comments from him just saying, ‘Wow, these lyrics are really good,’ without him going into detail about them," he explained. "And nor do I do that with his drumming. You know, ‘When you hit the third tom in that roll, it was fantastic. I really related!' We trust each other to bring the best to the table."

He added that “when it comes to song titles, he likes to voice his opinion, and I put that out to everybody in the band. We have a little powwow and say, ‘Hey, here’s what I’m thinking for song titles. What do you think?’ It’s like what we do with the artwork or the album title itself. So it is a democracy in that way. I do find that living in consultation around that is helpful.”

Hetfield – who said he wanted to call Metallica’s new album Lux Æterna instead of 72 Seasons – said, “Sometimes it’s not what I want to hear, but again, we all have to deal with differences of opinion and be somewhat humble in the band. This is representing all four of us, and even more than just the four of us, we just want to make it the best. And once I understand that everyone is wanting the best, then you can throw it out to democracy. And if three people say, ‘This one’s better than this one,’ OK, all right.”

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