Metallica frontman James Hetfield told the South China Morning Post that he was not offended at the band’s set list being censored by the Chinese government when it played in that country last month, forcing the group to drop songs like “Master Of Puppets,” “One” and “Hardwired” from its live show. Hetfield explained, “Why shouldn’t you respect their culture when you’re there as a guest and you’ve been invited to play? We want to be respectful, and just because we do things differently, it doesn’t mean it should be forced upon (others).”
Hetfield added, “But hopefully we’ll keep coming back and they’ll realize we’re not a threat politically and we have no agenda except to cross boundaries with music and let people enjoy the songs. We’re not trying to bring a secret message to anybody.”
- The shows last month in Beijing and Shanghai were part of Metallica’s second visit to China, following their debut in Shanghai in 2013.
- The members of the band revealed at that time that they were asked to send the lyrics to their entire discography to the Chinese government for approval before they were given permission to play in the country. Guitarist Kirk Hammett said, “They see a lyric like ‘Master Of Puppets’ being so subversive that they’re not allowing us to play it. It’s kind of scary.”
- Vetting by the Chinese authorities for foreign artists isn’t uncommon and has led to many acts being refused entry to the country to perform. The Chinese ministry of culture monitors music for vulgarity, as well as political content.
- The Chinese shows were among the first of Metallica’s world tour in support of its latest album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.