Metallica. That one word stirs up many different emotions for a vast array of individuals. There tends to be a three way split amongst those who know anything about the band that is celebrating 20+ years in the music industry. The haters are often the most vocal, whining about what the band did to “free music” and the Napster craze, moaning about how they sold out when they cut their hair and experimented with the Load / ReLoad albums and then again with St. Anger. While it was not the greatest time to be a fan of Metallica, I thoroughly enjoyed the music and experiencing my first of many live shows.
Another segment of the population could be qualified as the apathetic folks who may have enjoyed a few of the songs over the years, but do not really get what the band is about. These individuals can be heard to say, “Metallica? Are they still around?” Perhaps this group does not enjoy the current rock/metal/alternative selection, and instead prefers to listen to pop country, talk radio or nothing at all.
Finally, the third segment of my suggested Metallica listenership, the fans. Fans fill in an entirely unique spectrum of the world of entertainment consumers. I consider anyone whose ears perk up when they hear mention of Metallica and begin to pay attention to what is going on. Rabid collector of Metallica paraphernalia or casual listener who will make it a point to (legally) download a few songs off the new album or even buy one off the shelf for those occasional air guitar jam sessions. Fans are whom the music really is for. Fans will debate or ignore the hardheaded critics and listen to Lars, James, Kirk, and Robert (or Cliff or Jason) in spite of the negative press. Fans will occasionally feel the hair on the back of their neck stand up when they hear the bells tolling or the choppers beating the air at the intro to One. Fans understand that when it comes down too it, music is personal, music is primal, and music is food for the soul. God, family and Metallica: nothing else matters.