On Rock Music and Writing: The Fight to Stay Creative in the Face of Success

In 1991, Metallica released their massively successful “Black Album,” which, to this day, is one of the best-selling records in history. Metallica had been a successful rock band before, but the Black Album launched them into international stardom. They toured the world multiple times over, sold out stadiums, and dominated the charts.

Then they took a hiatus. They were overworked. And likely shocked and needed time to digest their new-found celebrity (not to mention ‘fuck you’ money).

Then in 1996, they announced their first new album in five years. My teenage self nearly crapped his pants. Metallica was my favorite band. I lived and breathed their first six albums. I learned to play guitar just so I could learn their songs. I counted the days to the new album’s release the way little kids count the days to Christmas.

(Keep in mind, this is back before albums got leaked online. This is back before they uploaded songs to YouTube. You had to wait like three months for the album to show up in record stores, and even then, sometimes you’d have to show up at midnight and wait in line to buy the hot new CD.)

(In other news, …

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