BackHistory: Part Four

The St. Anger-era kicked off on April 30th/May 1st with the small matter of a video shoot at San Quentin prison for the same-titled track, and continued in earnest with an MTV: Icon tribute show a week later, where peers such as Korn and Limp Bizkit lined up to pay tribute to the chaps. The guys also performed live, marking the first 'official' live appearance of Robert Trujillo as well as James Hetfield's first large-scale public performance since his stint in rehab (the band had played a few surprise gigs in the previous months, most notably in the parking lot of Network Coliseum before an Oakland Raiders AFC championship game).

Then came the small matter of rehearsals...which Metallica chose to do in front of their loyal fan club members over four nights at the historic Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco...and then it was off to Europe in June for the start of what would end up being 19 months of touring, with the festival circuit taking the early brunt, Metallica successfully playing to multiple 60,000-plus crowds. St. Anger saw its release on June 5th, a raw, feral, unrestrained slab of molten Metallica stuffed with abrasion, aggression and the overspill of four years excitement, anger, frustration and ultimate fruition. For those who thought it would signal a radio-honed band, St. Anger was a big, fat slap in the face. Indeed, it was actually too heavy and raw for some! Oh, and as if to prove that this 'new' Metallica were not a bunch of ginger-snap panty-waists, the boys played three shows in three different Parisian clubs in one day during mid-June, each venue harboring a temperature of not less than 100 degrees.

In the US, a new Summer Sanitarium tour followed, with Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit amongst the support acts on another series of stadium sell-outs. In the meanwhile, the fervor was slowly building for Some Kind Of Monster, the documentary film by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky about the world of Metallica between 2001 and 2003. Ostensibly slated to be about the making of an album, the filmmakers found a whole new project developing when James went into rehab, and thus having been projected as a marketing tool, the end product ended up being an incredibly revealing two hour twenty minute documentary.

As the Mighty Metallica continued plowing on through the world (going back to Europe, Japan and then onto Australia in January), SKOM debuted to enormous critical acclaim at the 2004 Sundance Independent Film Festival in Utah in January.

And the year continued in the way that you'd imagine a Metalli-year does, with the band deciding to play (seemingly) every single town capable of hosting a major arena gig in North America (some 80-plus dates) with Godsmack in support on the 'Madly in Anger With The World' tour. Result? Oh well, the usual sell-outs you'd expect for this 'in-the-round' two hour thirty minute set which saw no song off limits and many a fan favorite raised from retirement for a gleeful airing. (P.S...there was another Grammy in February for Best Metal Performance the song "St. Anger").

July saw the nationwide theatrical debut of Some Kind Of Monster which opened to enormous critical acclaim and went on to hold its own in North American theaters for three months before going through Europe. And August also saw the release of the first official Metallica book, So What! The Good, the Mad, and the Ugly, an edited compilation of the band's fan club magazine spanning 10 years from 1994 to 2004.

And still the tour continued, selling out venues right through to its final date in San Jose, California on November 29, 2004...

A busy spell? By the standards of many, most certainly. By Metallica's? Business as usual.