Interview William Irwin


A l'occasion de la récente publication aux Editions Camion Blanc de l'ouvrage "Metallica: Une interprétation philosophique", l'auteur américain William Irwin explique les fondements de son analyse inédite du groupe américain effectuée en collaboration avec vingt autres professeurs de philosophie. Dans cet entretien, il aborde les thèmes philosophiques exprimés dans les paroles de James Hetfield et apporte également son point de vue sur la carrière de la formation américaine.

1. Why did you choose this heavy metal band?

W. Irwin: Ever since high school heavy metal and philosophy have always been connected for me. Metallica, in particular, means a great deal to me and to many other people. 

2. What have you wanted to show by analyzing the group, its history and discography?

W. Irwin: Many fans have realized for a long time that Metallica has some deep and profound things to say. By using the tools and vocabulary of philosophy we can highlight the hidden depths of James Hetfield's lyrics.

3. What have you revealed with this philosophical analysis?

W. Irwin: The book Metallica and Philosophy connects the band to many important thinkers. But the bottom line is that Metallica is America's answer to existentialism. The lyrics reflect on death, despair, freedom, and rebellion.

4. Many groups of heavy metal or hard rock are often criticized for their lyrics dark sometimes violent and rarely related to philosophy. What do you think? Which difference with Metallica?

W. Irwin: Metallica certainly has dark and violent lyrics, but I don't think they often inspire violence. Quite the contrary, as discussed in Metallica and Philosophy, Aristotle argued long ago that art, such as Metallica's songs, allows us to entertain negative emotions and purge ourselves of them so that we experience a catharsis.

5. The group recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. What perspective do you have on this career?

W. Irwin: I think it's extraordinary. The shows they played in San Francisco were wonderful celebrations of their music, their fans, their friends, and their influences. I think Death Magnetic was an excellent album, and the four songs recently released as the Beyond Magnetic EP are also excellent. The future looks bright for Metallica.

6. How do you analyze the period St. anger marked by the departure of Jason Newsted, lack of inspiration and tensions between James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich?

W. Irwin: That was obviously a real low point for the band. I liked Jason very much. He never got a fair chance to be a full contributor to Metallica. His songwriting with Flotsam and Jetsam was first-rate, and I would have liked to hear more songwriting input from him in Metallica. I didn't dislike St. Anger as much as some people did. I thought "Frantic" and "St. Anger" were both very good songs. The dynamic between James and Lars is fascinating, and is discussed in the book in terms of male bonding and "bromance".

Entretien réalisé le 06 Janvier 2012 par Metallica-Rockspirit


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