James Hetfield Recalls Fan Spitting on Him After "One" Music Video

By Andrew Magnotta

November 7, 2018

Making music videos is standard operating procedure for any artist nowadays, but that wasn't the case before 1988.

In a recent interview surrounding the reissue of their ...And Justice for All album, members of Metallica recalled their reservations about even shooting a music video for their song "One."

At the time the band knew that releasing a music video and potentially getting on MTV would be construed as a betrayal by certain corners of its fanbase. After weighing the pros and cons with its management, the band agreed to make the video, and "One" became a legitimate hit.

Front man James Hetfield said the new level of success came with a surprising level of vitriol.

"I think there was one moment when I was at the Stone on Broadway in San Francisco there to see some band, some metal band," he recalled. "Some kid came up to me and he spit on me and he says, 'You sold out, you made a video.' And right there, I went, 'Yes, we did. F--k you."

By that time, Metallica had rationalized it's decision. And while the band didn't want to be lumped with the likes of "Asia or Toto," as Hetfield said, it also saw an opportunity too important to pass up. 

"That's when I started to realize, 'Okay, 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,'" he continued. "Whether it's video, whether it's the Internet, whatever's coming our way — a movie — that's what you've gotta do. You've got to go for it." 

Drummer Lars Ulrich discussed the band's consternation and eventual logic at the idea of releasing singles or radio edits for tracks from the album. 

"The thing was always, if this can open up and bring more people, it will expose them to what we're doing," Ulrich explained. "Then they discover the record, then they discover [Master of] Puppets, then they discover [Ride the] Lightning, then they discover Slayer, then they discover Diamond Head, then they discover Merciful Fate."

He added that major record labels in American weren't "serving" the heavy music marketplace, and as a result the public at-large had no idea that world existed. 

Photo: Getty Images


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