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Published: 2011/08/29

Lou Reed and Metallica Confirm Joint Album Details

Warner Bros. will release Lou Reed’s studio collaboration with Metallica, Lulu, on November 1. The musicians produced the album with Hal Willner who has worked with Reed, Marianne Faithfull and Laurie Anderson, among others. Greg Fidelman mixed the record.

Reed first collaborated with Metallica at the 25th anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame concerts in New York in October 2009. The members of Metallica helped Reed through Velvet Underground classics “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat” and the musicians decided to work on a studio project. At first they planned to record an album of Reed’s older material, what Lars Ulrich describes as “some of Lou’s lost jewels – songs that he felt he’d like to give a second spin, and we could do whatever it is we do to some of those songs.”

Shortly before they started working on the project, Reed decided to switch the album’s theme to focus on songs Reed had written for American avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson and German theater group the Berliner Ensemble’s production of the Lulu Plays. The theatrical presentation premiered in April at the Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin, founded by Bertolt Brecht. The songs are inspired by German expressionist Frank Wedekind’s early 20th century plays Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box, and a rewrite of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, which emerged as a graphic novel on Fantagraphics Press.

“We were very interested in working with Lou,” Hetfield said in a statement. “I had these giant question marks: What’s it going to be like? What’s going to happen? So it was great when he sent us the lyrics for the Lulu body of work. It was something we could sink our teeth into. I could take off my singer and lyricist hat and concentrate on the music part. These were very potent lyrics, with a soundscape behind them for atmosphere. Lars and I sat there with an acoustic and let this blank canvas take us where it needed to go. It was a great gift, to be asked to stamp ‘TALLICA on it. And that’s what we did.”

“We had to bring Lulu to life in a sophisticated way, using rock,” Reed added. “And the hardest power rock you could come up with would have to be Metallica. They live on that planet. We played together, and I knew it: dream come true. This is the best thing I ever did. And I did it with the best group I could possibly find. By definition, everybody involved was honest. This has come into the world pure. We pushed as far as we possibly could within the realms of reality.”

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