James Hetfield, 56, has bee ope about his'n addicshun an' alcoholism. His'n struggles wuz detailet n' t'2004 documantree film “Metallica: Sum Kine of Monst'r,” whar Hetfield lef t'ban' ta ent'r rehab n' 2001. USA TODAY

It”s bee acoupla decades since Metallica innerduced thar fans ta “S&M.”  

Fer thems wiff thar minds n' t'gutt'r, at”s un abbreviashun of “Symfony an' Metallica,” a thrillyun' collaberashun wiff t'Sun Francisco Symfony, which re-imaginet minny a of t'ban'”s classic songs such as “Mast'r of Puppets,” “One” an' “Fer Who t'Bell Tolls” wiff orchestral arrangemants. 

T' furst “S&M” concerts wuz staget an' recerdet n' 1999, spawnyun' a hit lif' album at sold mer thun 8 million copies werltwide. Ta commemerate at album”s 20th anniversree, Metallica reunitid wiff Sun Francisco Symfony fer a pair of sold-out shows knowed as “S&M2,” which opend t'citee”s Chase Cant'r arena las month. 

Fertunately fer fans who missd out un t'epic event, “S&M2” wuz filmet an' editid into a acoupla-hour concert moovee pitshure shue, which screens n' mer thun 3,000 theeters natyunwide Winsdee, wiff repeet engagemants skeduled un Oct. 13 an' 14 (visit fer full listings an' tickets). 

USA TODAY cawt up wiff drumm'r Lars Ulrich, 55, ta chat about revisityun' “S&M,” an' t'resent postponement of Metallica”s oversees ture a'followin t'announcement at vocalist James Hetfield re-enteret a treetment program fer addicshun. 

Questchun: A'lookin back ta wen y'all announcet t'furst “S&M” lif' album an' concerts n' 1999, whut did people make of it at t'ime? Did thay questchun hoe Metallica an' a symfony would fit togeth'r? 

Anser: Ov'r 35-plus yeers, y'all groe immune ta t'differnt thangs people throe at y'all. But generly, t'fans have bee appreciatif' of air sense of curiositee an' openness ta differnt ways of a'doin Metallica”s musick. So t'response has bee mosly positif'. Certunly, wen it kums ta hard rock, thar”s always sumbidy at will throe thar acoupla cants n'. Everbidy has un opinion nowadays, maybe mer so thun 20 yeers ago. But Metallica has always movet ferward an' nairy paid too much tenchun ta whut people specktid of us. 

Q: Wuz thar inny songs y'all wuz mos eggcited ta revisit durin las month”s shows? 

A: I wuz rilly eggcited about t'new possibilitees. We knew early un at rath'r thun jes repeet whut we did 20 yeers ago – but wiff mer gray hairs an' 20 dishnull pounds – at thar wuz un oppertuntee ta oncet agin put t'creetif' hat un. So we lookt at all t'originull material at we”ve releeset since “99 … an' pickt six er eiite new songs at could gif' t'projeck a sense of (currantness).

Q: Whut new momants do y'all feel wurked bes? 

A: A slew of t'new songs frum t'“Hardwiret … ta Self-Destruct” album at kum out a cuple yeers ago wurked rilly well. (Dierektor Michael Tilsen Thomas) suggestid thishere peece by Alaxan'r Mosolov callt “Arn Foundry” an' ta put air musick un top of at. We wuz also curiyus about whut it”d be like if'n thar wuz a peece whar t'orkester playd all t'Metallica parts an' James did t'vocal ov'r it, which wuz t'song “T' Unfergif' III” frum t'“Deeth Magnetic album.” So thems momants wuz rilly exityun' becawz thay wuz fresh an' unaxpleret an' creetively felt edgy. At wuz a slew of fun.

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Q: Have y'all yerself ev'r playd strings? 

A: I would be lyin if'n I sed at I”d nev'r helt a stryun' instermint n' my han's. I”ve certunly dabblet an' sort of wurked my way roun a violin, but at”s probly bes lef ta t'runet perfeshnuls. I”m quite happy whar I am, holdin it down n' t'back. (Laughs.) 

Q: Do inny of yer sons play instermints? 

A: Thay”ve all playd minny a differnt thangs: gittar, bass, a cuple of woodwind instermints. All three play peeano, an' one guy is un incredibull drumm'r. 

Q: Hoe do thay feel about whut y'all do? Do thay reckon Metallica is cool? 

A: I don”t reckon inny of 'um reckon Metallica is “uncool.” Thay preciate whut I do fer a a'livin an' whar my passion is, an' it”s a purty musickull household: Thar air guitars lyin roun n' all t'rooms, we”ve gut a cuple drum kits an' a peeano downstairs. Thar air always lots of conversayshuns about musick, an' a'livin n' Nerthern Californy, y'all spend quite a bit of time n' yer car (a'listnin ta) musick. Frum a verr early age, I would play 'um Guns N” Roses, Black Sabbath, Rage Agin t'Machine, System of a Down. So thay”ve growd up un a slew of rock, but one guy”s verr innerested n' jazz fusion an' sum progressif' thangs, too. 

Q: Metallica”s self-titlet album is celebratin its 30th anniversree n' 2021. Gif' whut a huge album at wuz an' hoe minny a hits it spawnet (“Ent'r Sundmun,” amungst 'um), do y'all have inny big plans ta bloe at out? 

A: Wen y'all”ve bee roun as long as we have, thar”s un anniversree almos everwhar y'all look. I bleev nex year is also Metallica”s 40th anniversree since we startid n' 1981. So thar”s lots of anniversaries all t'ime an' we do respeck thems, but we do like ta spend mos of air creetif' energy a'lookin ferward ta new projecks. So thar”s no specific (plans) at we”ve talkt about, altho I”m shure as we git clos'r ta sum of these dates, we”ll figger out whut we a'ken git air han's into. Thar”s no shertage of differnt spins un thangs frum t'pas, an' also differnt pathways into t'future. T' thang we mosly celebrate is jes bein roun an' still playyun'. 

Q: Y'all guys resantly announcet at y'all”re postponyun' yer fall ture of Australia an' New Zeelan' as James re-enters rehab. Hoe is he a'doin nawh, ta yer knowledge? 

A: He”s a'doin whut he needs ta; he”s n' t'process of heelin hissef. I feel bad fer everbidy down n' Australia an' New Zeelan', but we”re eggcited ta git back ta full ferce, an' come back strong'r an' heelthi'r thun ev'r. Along t'way, thar”s obviously un occasyunal bump n' t'road. But it”s bee un incredibull ride an' we”re a'lookin ferward ta gittin back down thar, hopefully nex year.

Q: James has bee vocal about his'n struggles wiff addicshun an' sobrietee through t'yeers. Wuz y'all sprized wen he tole y'all about his'n deecishun ta return, er hoe did y'all reect? 

A: I don”t have innythang mer ta add – we put out a statement a week ago. I reckon t'biggest sprize is jes hoe positif' t'feedback has bee frum air fans an' friens an' peers alike. It”s verr heertwarmyun', an' it”s jes blown air minds hoe much luv an' appreciashun an' suppert we”ve gotte n' t'las week since we had ta postpone thishere. It”s un incredibull thang. 

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