Some Kind of Band Meeting – watching Metallica on DVD

We are proud owners of a new Netflix subscription. My first order was for the ‘special features’ version of V for Vendetta which was full of special features but no actual movie. After that misfire things got better. Last night we finished “Some Kind of Monster”, the documentary on Metallica making a new album, getting over the loss of a bass player and dealing with the niceties of band meetings.

When Jean and I watch movies the dvd remote is always in hand. We can’t help but pause the movie and comment on it. For Some Kind of Monster the paused conversation added an hour or more to the length of the movie. When we go to the cinema it gets frustrating since you can’t pause “Last King of Scotland” to replay Forest Whitaker’s charming ways.

Those boys in Metallica don’t know how to communicate without anger. At the end of the movie they are saying how calm and reasoned the process has become but they still can’t say what they want or be open about the decision making process. They poke at the other person to point out their errors.

For nearly two years they had a psychologist working with them. He was nicely paid at $480k a year. In a band meeting without the shrink present James Hetfield stated how we was worried that the psychologist felt he was in the band, and that they didn’t need him beyond the first week of the upcoming tour. The rest of the band were not protesting at this, and in Metallica that seems the way agreement is stated. I thought that was a good open statement of how he felt.

When they next met the psychologist James didn’t say that to his face. There was a painful discussion where the psych was saying that things were going great but the band still had a long way to go and he had personal plans for all of them. The band members, especially James, had pained looks on their face, clearly not agreeing but without the words to communicate that. James poked at the psych’s manipulative ways, calling out that he had a conflict of interest. The psych defended himself. Then after a few minutes you could see the light in his eyes change. The full realization of what was happening hit him. He figured out he was getting dumped. I loved the irony – they can’t communicate “You’re Fired” to their psychologist.

It was hilarious to watch the band try to get touchy feely. They made their previous albums with atrocious communication, why bother to change? Still, they get major respect for being open about the process and letting some documentary filmmakers expose their inner workings.

The magic parts of the movie were when the band got it all together and played. Bands are either about music or fashion and Metallica aren’t sashaying down any catwalks. They start playing something and their expressions change and it all makes sense. It doesn’t matter how they produce their records, so long as they make them good.


1 Response to “Some Kind of Band Meeting – watching Metallica on DVD”

  1. October 27, 2008 at 06:25

    Keep up the good work.

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