'Deborah Norville Tonight' For July 9

Guest: Bob Baer, Ronald Kessler, James Hatfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  The cloud over the CIA.  A blistering report comes down hard on the nation‘s spy agency and raises new doubts about Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction.


SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  In short, we went to war in Iraq based on false claims.


NORVILLE:  Is outgoing CIA director George Tenet solely to blame?


GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR:  These have been eventful years.


NORVILLE:  Or is this George Bush‘s fall guy?


SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN:  It was the administration, not the



NORVILLE:  Tonight: a look inside the CIA‘s secret campaign against terror.  Why did it go so wrong?  Rock-and-roll rehab.  They do this, and this, and this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Metallica loves you!


NORVILLE:  But now this family of four is doing this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, maybe I‘m disappointed in myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you want to talk about that?  And what does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m prepared for the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t want to pick a fight.


NORVILLE:  Tonight, an exclusive with the four members of the heavy metal band Metallica and why they turned to group therapy to stay together and battle a few inner demons.


All of this conversation is the sort of thing you would think you‘d hear on Oprah.


ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening.  Once again, the CIA is being blamed for getting things wrong about Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction.  A scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report out today says the contentions that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was trying to make nuclear weapons were either flat-out wrong or based on false analysis.


SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  In the end, what the president and the Congress used to send the country to war was information that was provided by the intelligence community, and that information was flawed.


NORVILLE:  The report repeatedly blasts outgoing CIA director George Tenet.  It accuses him of elbowing out dissenting views from other intelligence agencies overseen by the State Department or Defense Department.  And it faults him for not personally reviewing the president‘s 2003 State of the Union speech, which drew a link between Iraq and nuclear weapons.

Yesterday, at a good-bye party as he stepped down from his post. he talked about being under constant scrutiny.


TENET:  These have been eventful years, filled with exhilaration and triumph, with pain and sorrow, and yes, with questions about our performance.  Such is the nature of a tough, essential business.


NORVILLE:  Joining me now is former CIA field officer Bob Baer.  He served in the CIA for more than 20 years.  Also with us tonight is author Ron Kessler, a former “Washington Post” investigative reporter.  His latest book is entitled “The CIA at War.”  Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

Bob, I‘ll start with you first.  How much, if any, of this report is a surprise?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER:  Almost nothing at all.  We all know there was going to be a tough, scathing report against the CIA.  We know the CIA got it wrong in the October, 2002, National Intelligence Estimate.  And frankly, it doesn‘t come as a surprise to me that the CIA‘s taking the fall for this mistake.

NORVILLE:  And should the blame go beyond the CIA, in your estimation?

BAER:  Oh, absolutely.  It wasn‘t the CIA alone.  It was the Pentagon. 

It was the American press, “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post.”  There was a logic of war set in after 2001, September, and no one was really questioning the basic assumptions.

NORVILLE:  Yes.  And it all starts with those assumptions.  Senator Rockefeller today said, “This war was based on false information.”  And he went on to expand on that, and this is what he said.


ROCKEFELLER:  The administration‘s conclusions were wrong, and that is

of the relationship, former relationship—however you want to describe it

·         between Iraq and al Qaeda, and no evidence that existed of Iraq‘s complicity or assistance in al Qaeda‘s terrorist attacks, including 9/11.


NORVILLE:  Ron Kessler, how is this possible, that they could get it so wrong?

RONALD KESSLER, AUTHOR, “THE CIA AT WAR”:  Well, first of all, what was just said was wrong.  The administration never said that there was any complicity between Iraq and September 11 or between Iraq and al Qaeda.  What they did say was that there were links, there were contacts.  Bill Clinton said that.  And there were.  And Bill Clinton said, as well, that it‘s very possible that Saddam could, in fact, start working with these terrorists.

Another indication of how one-sided this report is, is that it never addressed what was found after the war.  And David Kay reported on dozens of additional programs that were, in fact, found, including efforts to create long-range missiles, clandestine laboratories where strains of various biological weapons were being kept, and also the ability to make overnight mustard gas.  “The New York Times” this week ran a story saying that the report was going to say—I haven‘t quite found it in the report yet—that relatives of Saddam‘s scientists had told the CIA that he had given up his weapons program, and “The Times” said this information was not conveyed to President Bush.

NORVILLE:  So hold on a second.  Are you saying...

KESSLER:  But lo—lo and behold...

NORVILLE:  ... that this—this report is politicized and that the assumptions of it are assumptions that one shouldn‘t put any credence in?

KESSLER:  Well, you know, clearly, some things were wrong.  Clearly, some things were overstated.  It‘s also true that, you know, anybody cooperating with the CIA in Iraq would be executed.  There are a lot of indications to me that they didn‘t know what intelligence is all about and how it works because they said in the report that the CIA did not have an officer in Iraq.  Well, the CIA ideally recruits agents and assets who are locals, who, in fact, do have knowledge.  And that is exactly what they did, but it was very, very difficult.

NORVILLE:  But wait a second.  The report clearly says that after 1998, when the U.N. weapons inspectors left, there was, quote, “no human intelligence on the ground.”  Bob, you want to respond?

BAER:  I can attest to that.  I was responsible for Iraqi collections in the mid-‘90s, and unfortunately, we had no assets on the ground.  And apparently, that continued.  That means we had no one inside the weapons program.  We had no one inside Saddam‘s inner circle.  We had no one in the military.  And what we essentially had was an intelligence vacuum on Iraq, and we were falling back on sources like exiles, who, of course, wanted us to go to war.  And we were falling back on fragmentary intelligence or we were going to the Germans and the French, and they clearly didn‘t know what was going on there, either.  So it was very much a black hole, and we based this all on assumptions...

NORVILLE:  And—and...

BAER:  ... which is—which...

NORVILLE:  And what this report says, if I can put it in short-hand, is you had an assumption that wasn‘t quite right, and then you built on that assumption, and you got a little bit more wrong.  And then you continued on, and this layering on of false assumptions ultimately led to flawed intelligence.  And that, according to this Senate report, is where the problem was.

BAER:  It‘s true.  I mean, I assumed that he had the stuff, too.  I was wrong.  And everybody else did.  And that‘s one of the flaws of going to war based on fragmentary intelligence.

NORVILLE:  Ron Kessler, what about the other assertion, the criticism very strong against George Tenet that he deliberately skewed the information that was getting to the top policy makers and deliberately attempted to keep any alternative view, particularly from State and Defense, from getting to them?

KESSLER:  I—I just—I really don‘t believe that.  I think Tenet is an honest person.  The fact is that the Iraqi generals themselves thought that they were supposed to use chemical weapons during this recent war.  So if they thought that Saddam had these weapons, how do you get behind that?  It‘s very difficult.  And of course, he had used weapons in the past.  He did not account for them.  He was hiding things.  And since then, they have found dozens of additional programs.  So in my view, we did exactly the right thing.

NORVILLE:  And let me fast forward, Bob Baer, if I may.  What is the result of this report going to be?  It says money‘s not going to fix the problem.  In 30 seconds or so, can you tell us what will?

BAER:  We need a new, strong DCI, probably somebody from—a general, for instance, with a lot of respect and not afraid to stand up and change that place.  It needs change, period.

NORVILLE:  And you think someone from the military is the right person to come in and be able to do the job?

BAER:  A U.S. general who is candid, honest and not afraid to stand up to the president or National Security Council.

NORVILLE:  Got any names you want to throw out real quick?

BAER:  Norman Schwarzkopf.

NORVILLE:  There you have it.  OK, Bob Baer, thank you very much.  Ron Kessler, our thanks to you, as well.

KESSLER:  Thank you.

BAER:  Thank you.

NORVILLE:  And if you‘d like to read the entire Senate intelligence report for yourself, to see exactly what it says, you can do so by going to our Web page—we‘ve got a link for you—located at norville.msnbc.com.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next, the heavy metal band with some heavy mental issues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I am not interested in playing music with you if you‘re not happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I guess the playing part and being in the room and then mainly being in the room with Lars, playing music together, I guess I had higher expectations.

ANNOUNCER:  How the group that plays together tries to stay together with a little help from group therapy when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.


NORVILLE:  Here‘s something we don‘t talk about too often on this program—heavy metal music.  But in a moment, you‘ll see why we decided to do a story about Metallica.  They are doing something so unique and so different that, frankly, we couldn‘t pass up the chance.

First off, who are they?  Well, since 1981, Metallica has sold more than 90 million albums around the world.  They‘ve won six Grammy Awards, and they‘ve got a huge fan base.  They‘ve also established themselves as the macho, hard-partying monsters of rock.

They may be monsters, but the band members are in desperate need of help, and they sought it.  And all of it was documented in a new film which opens today called “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.”  It‘s a behind-the-scenes look as the band struggles to stay together while recording their 11th album called “St. Anger.”  The filmmaker started following the band back in 2001, and cameras were rolling as one member called it quits, another headed off to alcohol rehab, and the band hired a full-time group therapist to help sort through its problems.  Yes, group therapy for a heavy metal band.

I sat down earlier this week with all four members of the band for the first primetime interview together, to talk about the movie and about their personal problems.


And joining me now are Robert Trujillo, Kirk Hammett, James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich, Metallica.  Nice to meet you all.



NORVILLE:  I think anybody who goes to see this movie, “Some Kind of Monster,” is thinking it‘s going to be sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, and what they‘re going to get is good communications skills, bonding, message statements and motivation.  What gives?



HATFIELD:  That‘s what they‘re going to see, what‘s wrong with us, you know?


HATFIELD:  It‘s just a part of our evolution.  It‘s a part of growing up, a part of a path in our lives.  You know, we knew we came together for a reason, and the older you get, I think the more you realize how you need to work on relationships.  And these relationships were most definitely worth working on.

NORVILLE:  Whose idea was it to take a step back and go, Whoa, if we don‘t work on these relationships, this whole thing‘s going to fall apart?

LARS ULRICH, DRUMMER:  Well, I think what happened was that in some way, our former bass player kind of instigated it by announcing that he was leaving the band.  In the meeting where we all knew it was coming, our managers suggested that we maybe have a mediator in there, a guy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) separate us when it all went wrong.  And this guy named Phil Towle—and as we spent time with him and we started examining why somebody like Jason would leave the band, we started realizing that there was a lot of things that were broken and a lot of communication that had not happened and a lot of just further that the relationships could go.  So I think it happened kind of organically.  It wasn‘t like we sat down and said, We need therapy or we need help or we need, you know, whatever.  It just sort of—as we were exposed to the ideas of therapy and improving our communication, we really embraced it and took it to the next level.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know.  I guess the playing part, being in the room and then mainly being in the room with Lars, playing music together, I guess I had higher expectations.  And I don‘t know, maybe I‘m disappointed in myself.  Maybe—I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Want to talk about that?  I mean, what does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not enjoying being in the room with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But I—I am not interested in playing music with you if you‘re not happy in there.  I just don‘t want to be a—become a [DELETED], OK?  So if you‘re not happy playing music with me...


NORVILLE:  It‘s hard for me to believe that you initially willingly embraced the idea of sitting down with an outsider and, you know, opening up and emoting about everything.  That had to be a tough sell.

HATFIELD:  Well, I think the more you get into it, the more you realize how much you need it.  And once the shell started cracking around us individually, there was no shutting it again.  It just—it was stuff from—you know, obviously, things within the band that we hadn‘t discussed for years.  We just shut up because we wanted to keep things rolling.  And things are working, don‘t say anything.  But you know, way before the band, childhood stuff that started, you know, coming out, and it all started to make sense that, well, we are who we are because of what‘s gone on in our lives.  And let‘s just embrace that with each other.  And the more we get to know each other, the more we‘ll know why we are acting the way we are.

NORVILLE:  In the process of getting to know who you are individually, you also had to confront one another individually.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I mean, we‘re in (DELETED) moods, and we‘re not going to get...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All you want to do is pick a (DELETED) fight and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t want to pick a fight!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is so silly.  You‘re just sitting there (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in a really pissy mood and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I (DELETED) told you straight up that I was!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And what are you trying to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not trying to do (DELETED).  You‘re just sitting here, being a complete (DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re really helping matters!


NORVILLE:  What was that like for you?  I mean, you guys were using every swear word in the book, and it‘s clear that there‘s a lot of unfinished business that you‘re finishing right then.

ULRICH:  Yes, I mean, that‘s, to me, the key thing about this whole thing is basically resolving everything that‘s gone on in your relationships in your life and working to get to a place of confronting it.  And what you see in that film is not the negative elements of the film.  It‘s not radically different from what the previous 20 years were—a lot of power struggles, a lot of fighting for pole position, a lot of—of just being stuck in just one way of looking at something creatively, and so on.  And there was a lot of just resentment and unresolved stuff that came out in sort of, like, the first half of that movie.

And then at some point, there‘s a kind of a dramatic turning point, and then we start kind of getting along and things start getting better and the therapy and the communication and all that is helping.  But some of those scenes, I think it‘s pretty fair to say that they were just an extension of a lot of the dynamics in our relationship for the first 20 years.

NORVILLE:  I mean, at one point, you are practically screaming at James.  You say, “I realize I barely knew you!”  And I understand at screenings, the audience laughs at that.

ULRICH:  I think they laugh because it‘s a nervous reaction.  When—

I‘ve seen the film with one person, I‘ve seen the film with 300 people.  You know, the more intimate you are when you‘re watching, the fewer people, people have a tendency to kind of be a little more affected by it dramatically.  Do you know what I mean?  In larger groups, I think people are so uncomfortable, and they‘re just not used to seeing that kind of thing play out on a screen in a documentary style, that the easiest place to go with their reaction is kind of laughter.  But I think it‘s really a fear of kind of confronting how they‘re really emotionally dealing with what they‘re seeing, you know?

NORVILLE:  All of this conversation is the sort of thing you would think you‘d hear on Oprah.  You guys are the biggest heavy metal band out there.  And here, these kinds of emotions being expressed by Metallica is somewhat surprising.  Kirk, how do you explain this?


KIRK HAMMETT, LEAD GUITAR, METALLICA:  You know, I don‘t know how to

explain it, you know, without having—like, you know, taking up five

hours of your time.  I mean, we just—we arrived at this place because we

had to.  I mean, we had to do this because it was essential for the—the

·         you know, the survival of the band.  I mean, we really didn‘t have a choice.  I mean, we had to embrace this because the other options were just, you know, unacceptable.  You know, the other side of it would be a total, you know, fragmentation of the band and probably us just falling apart and ceasing to exist.  So, I mean, we were put in a position where it was either, you know, confront these issues, you know, and come together or fall apart.

NORVILLE:  Not many people watching this network are members of heavy metal bands, but they are members of relationships.  And if these two were the bickering parents, you played the role, it seemed to me, of the child who‘s just trying to help everybody get along, just smooth the rough edges.  Did you frequently find yourself in the peacemaker position?

HAMMETT:  Well, what people don‘t realize is that...



HAMMETT:  What people don‘t realize is that that‘s always been my position.  You know, within the first three or four weeks I was in this band 20 years ago, I found myself in this position.  It just never came to light because it was something that, you know, we didn‘t really expose to the media.  It was always behind closed doors.  And this just so happens to be the first time that someone actually caught it on film and opened it up to—you know, for everyone to see, really.  I mean, so—I mean, this is territory that I‘ve occupied for a long time, and it‘s nothing new to me.  It just...

NORVILLE:  Were you comfortable with it...

HAMMETT:  You know...

NORVILLE:  ... or did it eat you inside, always having to keep people from choking each other?

HAMMETT:  You know—you know, I‘m never comfortable with it, you know, but I‘m definitely calloused from it, you know?  I mean, it‘s turf that I‘ve negotiated a million times before, and so it was nothing new to me.  And so I‘ve just learned to accept it because I think that if I wasn‘t there and these guys were going at it, things would probably have been a lot worse a lot earlier in the band‘s career.

NORVILLE:  As you said, you were used to this.  You‘ve been doing it since you first came in the band.  But what was different was having the cameras.  Why did you agree to allow the cameras to document what was clearly the most traumatic period in both your professional and your personal lives?  It‘s so intrusive.

ULRICH:  I think the word trust, you know?  Trust.  We trusted John Booz (ph).  We knew we had a little bit of a relationship with him from the past, from “Paradise Lost” and so on.  So to me, it was about trust.  And in any kind of creative relationship, if there‘s trust, then you free yourself.  And I think, you know, there was just—between the six of us, there was just a lot of trust.

NORVILLE:  Are there scenes in the movie that you wish had not been included?

HATFIELD:  Well, for me, those are usually the ones that really have to be in there.  And they‘re—because I don‘t want them in there, it‘s a good reason that they should be in there, to expose the me that maybe I don‘t like.  And you know, if we went through and edited all the parts that we didn‘t like in there, it‘d be, you know, 10 minutes long.


HATFIELD:  And that‘s not why we made the thing.  It‘s a great mirror for us.  It‘s so great to learn about ourselves through this way.  You know, this movie‘s really for us.  And everything we‘ve done in our career is really about our path.  And we don‘t know why we‘re choosing this, we‘re just doing it.  And to expose our most fearful times in life on a camera is so connecting.  And I‘ve tried to connect with this world for most of my life, and this is the ultimate in that, I think, to bare your soul to people, and then they can choose what they want to do with that.  And then that‘s why, you know, someone like you says, I think I know you, and they feel comfortable with you.  And I‘ve always wanted to have people feel comfortable around me.


NORVILLE:  When we come back: What happens when one of the members of the band battles a drinking problem, and more on how they as a group dealt with the constant glare of the cameras.


NORVILLE:  Continuing our look at the new documentary about the heavy metal band Metallica.  It‘s called “Some Kind of Monster.”  And it deals with the band undergoing group therapy in an effort to stay together as they record their latest album.

I sat down the other day with the entire band for their first prime-time interview together to talk about the film.  And we continue now as we talk how one band member dealt with alcohol and how they think this film will help them better connect with their fans. 


NORVILLE:  Do you think people know you better now as a result of this documentary than they have through 20 years of Metallica music? 

HATFIELD:  I think combined together that it‘s the ultimate connection, because what we‘ve done in our careers, it‘s another side of us.  And it‘s the personalities we wish we were, I think.  And this film is showing us the way we really are and maybe don‘t want to be.  So combined together, you get a pretty full spectrum of our personalities. 

NORVILLE:  Rob, you are the new member of the group.  You came in a couple of years ago.  And part of your audition process is included in the movie.  Once you made the band and you realized what was going on behind the scenes, did part of you think, what have I done? 

TRUJILLO:  Well, it was pretty interesting because I found out about the cameras and the therapist en route to my first audition.  And the first day was pretty much just sitting around and reacquainting ourselves.  And it was very interesting for me. 

At first, it was a bit intimidating.  Actually, en route was intimidating because I hadn‘t seen these guys in 10 years.  And I know James back in the day was a pretty intimidating character.  So to sit around a table with these guys and have James, you know, just share what had been going on internally with the band and himself and reacquaint that way, I thought, was pretty amazing and it made things comfortable very quickly. 

And the cameras didn‘t freak me out so much.  After an hour or so, I got used to it and pretty much got used to these guys welcoming me into their world and to check out the new material, which they probably would have never done in the past.  I wasn‘t officially in the band yet.  I‘m hearing unreleased, raw, new Metallica music, which sounded incredible, and I think that was inspired also by what they had gone through. 

NORVILLE:  James, early own this, you disappeared.  You left the band.  You left the group.  You left the picture.  You went into an alcohol rehab program. 


HATFIELD:  And all the other drinking and all the other junk that I was stuck in, it was so predictable, so boring.  I‘m out there looking for excitement.  And all this stuff, the results are the same, man.  I wake up the next day somewhere in some bed.  I don‘t know who this person is next to me.  And I‘m drunk, completely hung over and have a show to do and the result is the same. 


NORVILLE:  When you left the group, did you know if you were coming back? 

HATFIELD:  I had no intention of not coming back. 

But I had no idea what was in the path in front of me.  I knew I had to unplug from the world in a way or the world that I had—as I had known it and go in and just get completely real, get down to the core, stripped down to just soul.  And that‘s what they did.  They helped me get there.  And, as a celebrity, famous person, that was always the excuse I used to not getting that kind of help.

And I can relate to other celebrities that feel that.  But there are places that you can bare your soul and get real.  And, you know, we‘ve all got the same size soul.  And at the end of the day, when you are desperate for help, you will really do anything you need to, to get that.  And I know it was a big strain on these guys.  It was a huge strain on my wife and children.  But I really knew and the more I was at the rehab center that, if I wasn‘t healthy, those other things were going to go away eventually again. 

And so it was an investment in all, but it took the unplugging, it took the, hey, I‘m not this creation, I‘m a human.  And let‘s get real with that. 

NORVILLE:  What‘s the lesson that you gentlemen have learned that you think is applicable to other people hitting their 40s?  Responsibilities are looming large.  They‘ve been on whatever mouse wheel they‘ve been on.  And there‘s the Peggy Lee song in the back of your mind going, hey, is that all there is? 

You‘ve all figured out having to answer that question.  I know Peggy Lee, you relate to a lot.  But what‘s the lesson? 

ULRICH:  I think the lesson is to not be afraid of embracing the people that are closest to you.  That‘s what I‘ve learned and just be interested and go where the other person is and listen and open up and speak from the heart.

And just, life‘s too short to do anything else.  And we spent way too long fighting that.  And it just feels so awesome to finally get a chance to do that and to take it to the next level. 


HAMMETT:  For me, communication, really, because I would always internalize a lot of things.  And to always finally just realize that that internalization was part of the overall problem.  It was a big wakeup call for me. 


TRUJILLO:  Same for me.  Same as Kirk. 

In my years of growing up, in my family situation, you know, there were rocky moments with my parents and stuff.  And I think that maybe there were similarities in how I grew up the same as the guys here.  So for me to enter the world of Metallica and to have people like Phil around and to have my brothers here, you know, go through the same sort of thing, it was an incredible experience.  And our future is bright now, you know?  Everything that we‘ve been through and what they‘ve been through has opened the doors for the future of Metallica.  It‘s great. 

NORVILLE:  James? 

HATFIELD:  Well, there‘s really no past, no future.  There‘s just a continuous now and make it the best that you can and enjoy it and embrace the things that you have in your life.  And the only way you can really change the past is by making now as best as it can be. 

NORVILLE:  And, finally, having gone through this process, is the music better or is the process of making the music better? 

HATFIELD:  You know, for me, the process is mostly why I do it.  The end result is only the result of why you are doing it.  I think making the music—when you are happy making music, you are going to make the best music you can.  And we‘ve just discovered a new way of doing it.  Maybe bands have been doing it for 100 years.  We just discovered it after 22 years on how to do that . 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you so much for supporting Metallica through all the rough times and all the good times.  Metallica loves you. 



NORVILLE:  That was Metallica. 

When we come back, we‘ll be joined by the two filmmakers who followed the band around for two years and documented their therapy sessions. 

Back after this.


NORVILLE:  What drove the rock group Metallica to therapy and why did they allow something so personal to be made into a movie?  The filmmakers explain coming up next.


NORVILLE:  Back now with our look at the new documentary on the heavy metal band Metallica, “Some Kind of Monster.”  It‘s a revealing warts-and-all behind-the-scenes look at the band as it opens up and goes through group therapy to try to stay together.  And even though the filmmakers knew the guys in the group and were promised complete and full access, when the cameras began rolling back in 2001, the band had its doubts. 


ULRICH:  We haven‘t really worked together for almost nine months. 

When we were talking a couple days ago about whether, you know, we wanted

to do this film or not, I was wondering if having these guys in here would

affect that, because there‘s an intimacy that you get when it‘s just a few

people in the room.  And I‘m just wondering if that‘s going to get lost, if

we‘re going to go back to sort of like battling each other and trying to be

like all strong and


HATFIELD:  What kind of intimacy are you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) talking about? 


PHIL TOWLE, THERAPIST:  I think, to me, it is not going to be a matter of whether the cameras are in play, but whether or not you guys are free enough to risk being seen by other people. 


NORVILLE:  That, of course, was the therapist, Phil Towle; 715 days later, the filming was complete and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” opens in selected theaters beginning today. 

I‘m joined now by the two filmmakers, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. 

Gentlemen, this had to be one of the more bizarre projects that you have ever worked on.  How did it get started? 

JOE BERLINGER, DIRECTOR:  Well, the beauty of this film is, it was a happy accident. 

We went out to San Francisco to film some promo footage.  Elektra, the record label, wanted us to shoot a couple of weeks of B roll, hand it off to the record label.  And we thought it was going to be a little gig in between our big films.  And we didn‘t dream it would turn into our next big film.  And I think that‘s why the film is so authentic, because it was unplanned. 

In this age of reality TV, where things are so self-conscious, so contrived—if we would have sat down with these guys and said, hey, let‘s do this intense film where we tear apart your psyches and then you‘ll heal yourselves and triumphantly take the stage at the end of the film, they would have thought we were crazy. 

NORVILLE:  If you would have planned something like this, it never would have come off.

But there actually was, Bruce, a period of time where the record label thought, reality TV.  We‘ll do our version of The Osbourne family and it will be great. 


That‘s what really—when they record started coalescing and they could see that there was a finish date, they rediscovered our footage as being something very special.  And they said, why don‘t we try to make it a reality show and make it another Ozzy Osbourne thing, which was something that made our hearts sink, frankly.  It was very upsetting to us. 

And the band, to their benefit and the intelligence that they have, said, you know what?  We don‘t want to do that.  We don‘t want to so overtly tie this very, very special material to the making and the release of our record, because we‘ve never needed something like this before for the release of our record. 

So they said, well, we‘re not in the business of making movies, so, what are we going to do here?  So Metallica literally wrote out a $2 million check, which is what Elektra had spent up to that moment, and said, we trust Joe and Bruce.  They have a vision.  We want them to pursue it. 

NORVILLE:  But you didn‘t know what the vision was.  And I‘m guessing that having Phil Towle, the therapist, there, getting them to emote, getting them to share all this stuff, there must have been the producer bell in the back of your head going, this is way different.  We‘ve got to do something with this.  I just don‘t know what.

BERLINGER:  Even though we started out as doing a promotional assignment, we knew from day one, you are sitting here with the icons of macho aggression, guys who are famous for being closed down and shut, whose whole image is about being a tough male and not talking about their feelings, sitting there emoting and trying to get to know each other.

And at the same time, the band was also trying to democratize its music-writing process.  They normally—James and Lars usually outside of the studio write the music and then come into the studio and dictate it to the band members.  And here they were going to open up the writing process. 

NORVILLE:  Which is what we‘re looking at right here, as they are trying different things and everybody is putting their 2 cents worth in. 

BERLINGER:  Right.  And frankly, for James Hatfield, I would think that it‘s scarier to relinquish the writing process.  It‘s even scarier than therapy, because, if therapy, if it‘s not working for you, you just clam up.  If you clam up in the writing process, you relinquish control and that would be scarier to me. 

NORVILLE:  I also think that, from the band‘s point of view, it would be very scary to have this very emotional side of themselves, because they are the heavy metal, hard-charging rockers, being revealed out there.  They show their kids.  They show their art collections.  You see Kirk out there on the horse riding the plains.  That doesn‘t look like heavy metal headbangers. 

SINOFSKY:  You know what?  The film is revealing about them.  And once they decided to come down from the pedestal of hard rock icons and to show the soft underbelly of each of them, it was very refreshing for us. 

But it‘s because they trusted us and they knew us.  And it was a gradual process because these men have always controlled their image and controlled everything about the recording of their records.  And for them to all of a sudden, you know, undress in front of not only us, but ultimate what was going to be their fan base, it was potentially very, very dangerous, because we don‘t usually want to see our heroes in that way. 

NORVILLE:  Right.  And there‘s no turning back. 

SINOFSKY:  There‘s no turning back.  And the fact that they were willing to show themselves so vulnerable, so human was very surprising to us, because the reason we wanted to do the film is, for years, we have been sort of very amazed by their on-stage persona being so different than the men you would meet when they were off stage. 

NORVILLE:  Do you think it is going to affect their music?  Do you think going through this process is going to affect the Metallica sound?

SINOFSKY:  Well, “St. Anger” happens to be the most aggressive album they‘ve done since their pre-black album days.  And the music itself musically is going to actually remain as aggressive as it‘s always been, but it‘s lyrically now where the magic has happened. 

They‘re now for the first time looking within.  They‘re looking for—trying to harness the positive energy of anger and aggression, in a healthy way to channel that anger and that‘s what the “St. Anger” is all about. 

NORVILLE:  And what about the two of you?  You can‘t spend two years with guys who are going through group therapy without probably having a little bit of group therapy on the periphery yourselves.  Are you changed? 

SINOFSKY:  Frankly, Joe and I had many, many issues going into the making of this film.  In fact, we had not made films together for a couple of years because we were both working on our own projects.  And, frankly, we had some issues very much the way James and Lars had issues about—there were credit issues.  There were existential issues.

Just, you get a little tired of being partners with somebody for 13 or 14 years.  And frankly and honestly, if the Metallica film had not happened, we may not have made films together anymore.  But going through therapy and listening to Phil and listening to James and Lars and Kirk, it started melting the iceberg that had formed between us.  And frankly, the therapy sessions that they were going through we were going through and it really—it saved our career. 

BERLINGER:  There‘s a certain magic when people come together and collaborate that as you sort of move up the ladder you forget about. 

And I think we had forgotten that you can‘t quantify what each person brings to the table, but when you throw people together, sometimes really cool stuff happens.  James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich, coming together—they‘re two very different guys.  They make this incredible music together.  And we figured out how to get our act together, too. 

NORVILLE:  Well, it is an incredible movie.  And I think it is going to surprise a lot of people when they get a chance to see it.  Good luck to you both.  Thanks for being with us.


NORVILLE:  The movie is called “Some Kind of Monster.”

Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, thank you.

Coming up next, we‘re going to take to you Washington, D.C.  Talk about surprises.  This may have been one of the most emotional moments of the week and certainly a long time in Washington. 

Back after this.


NORVILLE:  This week‘s “American Moment” took place on the floor of the United States Senate.  Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon made a tearful plea to his colleagues to pass a youth suicide prevention bill.  It‘s named after his son, Garrett, seen here on the right, who took his own life last fall, one day before his 22nd birthday.  Garrett suffered from manic depression. 


SEN. GORDON SMITH ®, OREGON:  I didn‘t volunteer to be a champion of this issue, but it arose out of the personal experience of being a parent who lost a child to mental illness and suicide. 

Last September, Sharon and I lost our son, Garrett Lee Smith, to a long battle that he suffered from mental illness.  He suffered emotional pain that I cannot begin to comprehend.  And he ultimately sought relief by taking his life.  Sharon and I adopted Garrett a few days after his birth.  He was a beautiful child, a handsome baby boy. 


NORVILLE:  An emotional scene on the Senate floor.  The Senate unanimously passed the bill, which will help states develop suicide prevention programs and fund more mental health services on college campuses.  It now moves onto the House.  And it is this week‘s “American Moment.”

When we come back, Michael Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” it‘s doing gangbusters in American theaters, but what about overseas? 

Back in a moment.


NORVILLE:  Send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.  Some of our e-mails are posted on our Web page at NORVILLE.MSNBC.com.  And while you are there, you can sign up for our newsletter. 

That is our program for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  I‘m Deborah Norville. 

Coming up Monday night, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” it‘s already made a lot of conservatives hot under the collar here in the United States, but now Michael Moore‘s film is going global, or at least across the Atlantic.  What do people think about the film in the United Kingdom?  And is Tony Blair going to be the subject of the next Moore film?  And how is it playing in France?  We‘ll find out on Monday night.

That‘s it for us.  Coming up next, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”

Have a great weekend.  We‘ll see you on Monday.


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