During an appearance on Gibson TV, producer Bob Rock looked back on working with Metallica on the band’s monumental 1991 self-titled record, also known as the “Black Album.”
Bob talked about Enter Sandman and how his work with Motley Crue ended up benefitting both the bands.
“I remember when I heard ‘Sandman’ – I went, ‘Wow, that sounds pretty good.’ I looked out at Kirk [Hammett, guitar] and everybody was kind of rockin’ to it, and I went, ‘This might do well.’
“I used to take notes when I was first starting producing; when we do pre-production in a room and you kind of go through the songs, and you kind of find the right tempo for the song, and you go through the arrangements and make some adjustments.
“On my notepad, I’d write the key and the tempo, the chart and arrangement, and maybe six songs in, I noticed that every song is in E.
“And I’m going, like, ‘Why is everything in E?’… And James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] looked at me like he wanted to kill me and said, ‘It’s the lowest note…’
“I said, ‘So [Black] Sabbath de-tuned and Motley [Crue] de-tuned to D. Have you ever done that?’… ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, just de-tune down to D.’ So they de-tuned down to D, and the next song was ‘Sad But True,’ and they just played it once and they were just, like, ‘Holy f*ck.’
“Of course Sabbath de-tuned, but they never thought they [Metallica] could do that. Their experience was never like that, and that’s just totally by accident where it happened. And it’s only because I worked with Motley and [1989’s] ‘Dr. Feelgood’ is in D.
“I said, ‘That’s why it sounds the way it does.’ They’re going, like, ‘Wow…’ They started to like me a little bit on that day – just a little bit. [Laughs] I think they started having lunch with me. We just kind of talked about it, and they knew they wanted to change things up.”