Metallica's Kirk Hammett recently revealed why he's "afraid" to listen Lulu, Metallica's 2011 album with The Velvet Underground's Lou Reed. The collaborative effort received mixed reviews from critics and a negative response from Metallica fans when it emerged.

But the initial reception isn't why the Metallica lead guitarist is now reluctant to spin the record.

No, it's more out of a sentimental reverence for the material and for the album's lead vocalist, Reed. The late rocker, who died in 2013, not only led The Velvet Underground but was a challenging solo artist. And several years ago, David Bowie, another late rock icon, wrote Reed a letter praising Lulu.

It was a commendation Hammett won't soon forget.

"That was one of the highest compliments I ever got as a musician and artist," the Metallica member tells NME in an interview last week (June 17). "It was an incredible honor working with Lou Reed, and I loved the Lulu album."

Guitarists James Hetfield (L) and Kirk Hammett of the US band Metallica perform on the Helviti stage at the Heavy Metal Rock Festival Copenhell in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 15, 2022
Hammett live with Metallica's James Hetfield. (Torben Christensen, Getty Images)

Hammett continues, "I remember Lou sharing with me that letter David Bowie sent to Lou. It was written on paper, and it was such a glowing, grueling appraisal of the Lulu album."

He adds, "When Lou showed it to me, it brought me to tears, bro! 'Cause I might be some heavy metal guy, but Lou Reed and David Bowie made tons of great music that has been a huge inspiration to me over the course of my life."

However, Hammett confesses it's "hard for me to listen back to Lulu because it brings me back to that time. Thinking about working with Lou and soaking up his vibe. It became a very emotional album for myself, and I'm afraid to listen to it!"

On Lulu, Metallica provide the muscular musical backing to 10 obtuse lyrical pieces written and performed by Reed on vocals. It's only single, "The View," emerged in September 2011.

Drummer Lars Ulrich (R) and guitarist Kirk Hammett of the US band Metallica perform on the Helviti stage at the Heavy Metal Rock Festival Copenhell in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 15, 2022.
Hammett live with Metallica's Lars Ulrich. (Torben Christensen, Getty Images)

In April, Hammett released his first-ever solo effort, Portals, just in time for Record Store Day. That month, he suggested he intends to keep working on solo material.

Metallica, together over 40 years, are currently touring the world. See their remaining dates for 2022 under the video. Several new documentaries about the band are rolling out now. Last year, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said it was "way too early" to talk about a new Metallica album, though the band had seemingly been working on one.

Lou Reed + Metallica, "The View"

Metallica 2022 Tour Dates

June 22 – Prague, Czech Republic, @ Prague Rocks
June 24 – Hockenheim, Germany @ Download Fest
June 26 – Clisson, France @ Hellfest
June 29 – Frauenfeld, Switzerland @ Frauenfeld Rocks
July 1 – Werchter, Belgium @ Rock Werchter
July 3 – Bilbao, Spain @ Rock Day
July 6 – Madrid, Spain @ Mad Cool
July 8 – Lisbon, Portugal @ NOS Alive
July 28-31 – Chicago, Ill. @ Lollapalooza
Aug. 11 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ Highmark Stadium
Aug. 14 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ PNC Park

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