Blacklisted!
Guitar World|November 2021
ON THE METALLICA BLACKLIST, 53 ACTS TRY THEIR HAND AT REINTERPRETING ONE OF THE BLACK ALBUM’S 12 TRACKS IN THEIR OWN VOICE. HERE, FOUR ARTISTS — ST. VINCENT, GHOST’S TOBIAS FORGE, ROYAL BLOOD’S MIKE KERR AND RODRIGO Y GABRIELA’S RODRIGO SÁNCHEZ — DISCUSS HOW THEY DID IT, AND WHAT METALLICA MEANS TO EACH OF THEM
RICHARD BIENSTOCK

ST. VINCENT, “SAD BUT TRUE”

Why did you choose to cover “Sad But True”?

ST. VINCENT: I think every person has an internal BPM, their own kind of natural tempo. So I thought about doing a faster tune, but then I thought, You know what? I think my natural BPM is this, like, swamp-stomp “Sad But True” BPM. And as far as adding the programmed drums and the instrumentation, I just sort of asked myself, “Okay… how would Skinny Puppy cover Metallica?”

You play several guitar solos in your version. The first one is more of a blues-based lead, which isn’t the type of thing we typically hear from you. Was it fun?

It totally was. With that first solo I was like, “Okay, I need to do right by Kirk and pay homage to his choices.” And so I learned his solo and then did my own take on it. Whereas the second solo, I just said, “Well, what would I do? What’s my natural instinct on this?” And that solo, it’s all me.

How did you approach the song from a vocal perspective?

It’s interesting inhabiting the lyrics of the song, because they’re, like, full-throttle, hands-around-your-neck lyrics. And so I had to find my way into that. Because I don’t have a low Doberman growl like James Hetfield does. I had to think about it: How can I portray menace in this that isn’t coming from a deep baritone place?

How did you get turned on to Metallica?

I was living in Dallas in 1991, ’92, and I think somebody was moving or something, and a box of CDs fell out on the sidewalk in front of her house. And in that box was Nine Inch Nails. Pet Shop Boys. Depeche Mode. The Black Album. Somebody had cool taste. I feel sorry that they lost their CDs, but, hey, good for us, right? And I started listening to the Black Album, and then it was on the radio, on MTV… I think there’s videos like “Enter Sandman” that just stick with you forever.

So the Black Album was actually the first Metallica record you ever heard?

It was. And then I started playing guitar and I got asked to join a metal band. But all the guitar spots were taken so they said, “We need somebody to play bass.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll do it.” Even though I didn’t play bass. But I figured it out, and we started covering “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Which is a pretty sick bass line. So I started digging into the catalog that way. But I’ve been a fan since I was 10 – ever since I heard the Black Album.

GHOST, “ENTER SANDMAN”

How did you approach your cover of “Enter Sandman”?

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