Metallica: Behind The Scenes Of The Gymnasium Video

When it comes to music videos, Metallica started their career out as major doubters. Unwilling to jump on the MTV rock video bandwagon in the early and mid-80s, Metallica refused to lather up some scantily clad models in oil and have them slide around the hood of a car or writhe around in cages. Metallica, it seemed, had more integrity than that. When they finally did get around to shooting a video, they’d held out until their fourth album, …And Justice For All, and even then, it was only because the stars aligned.

[Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images]

It might be surprising to note that James Hetfield had never seen the film, Johnny Got His Gun before he wrote the song “One.” The idea for the lyrics of the Metallica song was pretty simple: A soldier gets his arms, legs, and face blown off in combat. He can’t see, he can’t hear, he can’t talk — all he can do is think and wish for death. Lo and behold, the premise for Johnny Got His Gun, both the book and the film, is essentially the same as the Metallica song. When someone pointed this out to the members of Metallica, the idea was born to make a video for “One” and incorporate scenes from Johnny Got His Gun interspersed with black-and-white footage of James, Lars, Jason, and Kirk playing in a warehouse.

Finally, Metallica had made a video.

Fast forward to Metallica’s self-titled album, commonly referred to as The Black Album. “Enter Sandman” was the first single, and the video was released in advance of the album release. The video for Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” stuck to the dark and aggressive, showcasing a myriad of possible nightmare scenarios. When the video for “The Unforgiven” was released, it displayed an artier feel. There were a few more videos to come out of The Black Album, one for “Sad but True,” “Wherever I May Roam,” and “Nothing Else Matters,” all of which centered more around live performances from Metallica concerts.

When Load and ReLoad were released, Metallica starting toying around with the concept of video a bit more. “Fuel” displayed muscle cars burning rubber, “When it Sleeps” brought viewers into a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and “Hero of the Day” attempted to show off a more humorous side of Metallica — and frankly, it didn’t work. “The Unforgiven II” video was a continuation of the video for “The Unforgiven.” St. Anger brought with it a spot-on video for “Frantic,” an artier video for “The Unnamed Feeling” and, of course, the San Quentin video for the title track. The “Some Kind of Monster” video was basically a promo for the documentary of the same name.

Death Magnetic brought with it some interesting videos. They were all essentially short films conceived of and directed by different artists. “The Day that Never Comes” had us following the exploits of American soldiers in a Middle East conflict. “All Nightmare Long” mimicked 1950s governmental films intermixed with animation of chemically-infected zombies taking over the world.

And so it went.

[Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images]

Now, with the announcement of the release of Metallica’s new album, Hardwired… to Self Destruct, coming out in November, a new video was recently released for the album’s title track, “Hardwired.” The video for Metallica’s “Hardwired” is simple and straight to the point. It almost feels like Metallica has come full circle, video-wise. The black-and-white footage of the four members bashing out the tune is eerily reminiscent of the black-and-white warehouse footage in the “One” video. It’s simple, it’s direct, and it works.

And now, Metallica is taking you behind the scenes of the “Hardwired” video. In a new video released on their website, Metallica shows just how the “Hardwired” video was made, and it surprised quite a few fans to find out that it was actually shot in a high-school gymnasium in San Rafael, California. Black curtains were raised, and a circular track was placed around the band so a camera could move around them as they played to get those frenetic shots. A single swivel-spotlight was placed on the floor in the middle of them to get that uplight effect, and dirt and dust were placed on the drums so that it would fly up in the air when Ulrich banged away during the song.

Utterly simple, and yet utterly effective.

It will be interesting to see what direction Metallica takes on its upcoming videos for the songs from Hardwired… to Self Destruct.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

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