Frontman James Hetfield addressed the commonly-argued matter of Metallica “selling out” over the years, focusing on the time when the band got flak for making their first video.
The clip in question was “One” off 1988’s “…And Justice for All.” James told David Fricke (transcribed by UG):
“Addressing the subject of perceived compromise is a great one. Because it has happened in little bits all along our career.
“You either embrace change and use it at your advantage and point it in the right direction, or you’re afraid of it and you turn around and kind of maybe stay the same size and don’t grow at all.
“And I was afraid. I was afraid of the video [for ‘One’].
“Whenever we’d turn on MTV, it would be Asia or some Toto or something. And that was not what we wanted. The perception was, ‘Okay, we’re joining that.’ And we didn’t want to join that.
“So when they asked us, ‘We need a video,’ that helped a lot, first of all. And I think there was one moment when I was at The Stone on Broadway in San Francisco to see some band – I don’t know, some metal band – and some kid came up to me and he spat on me.
“He says, ‘You sold out! You made a video!’ And right there I went, ‘Yes we did. Fuck you.’
“And that’s when I started to realize – you can stay small and in this thing, but, if you have something to say that’s really important, you need to utilize these things. Whether it’s the video, whether it’s the internet, whatever’s coming our way – a movie – that’s what you gotta do, that’s what you go for.”