James Brown may have been the hardest working man in show business, but Metallica's also had one of the strongest work ethics of any band out there, especially when it comes to touring.
Having seen Metallica four times back in the day, I can attest they're one of the most dependable live bands you'll ever see, and every time I've seen them they always delivered.
Unlike Axl or the current incarnation of Van Halen, blowing off gigs or being too drunk to play a set is not an option, and even after James Hetfield got burned up in a pyro accident, he was back onstage in no time with his arm in cast, back on tour as fast as his health would allow.
So now Metallica's at work on their next album, which Rick Rubin will produce.
As Hetfield told Rolling Stone, "I only have 846 riffs" for the new album. "In iTunes, you can see how many things you've got... That does not include the soundchecks, the stuff we goof around with here."
And bassist Robert Trujillo added, "Hetfield – he's a writing machine. Kirk has over 300 ideas."
The band's also been planning a 3D movie, and they'll be filming a show on August 24 in Vancouver for the film. The movie will be directed by Nimrod Antal, who also helmed Predators, and will be produced by Charlotte Huggins, who also gave us Journey to the Center of the Earth 1 and 2.
As the band told Blabbermouth, "We couldn't think of a better place than Vancouver to end our three-week new stage run with cameras capturing it all, so bring your nuttiest, craziest Metalli-self to the show, be a part of movie history, and show the rest of the world how much Vancouver rocks."
Regarding why they're working this hard, it's a much different music business these days, and the band's got big overhead to take care of, including self-financing their 3D movie to the tune of $20 million, their own studio, and touring.
As Kirk Hammett told Rolling Stone, "The cycles of taking two years off don't exist anymore. We were able to do that because we had record royalties coming in consistently. Now you put out an album, and you have a windfall maybe once or twice but not the way it used to be – a check every three months.
"We've been a live band, we've had to get out there and play, play, play," Hammett continued. "And it's kind of touché because nowadays that was the area we wanted to kind of lay back on a little bit, and kind of enjoy or families and things. But, you know, it is what it is, and we can't change that."