Indy: You joined the band after the 2003 album St. Anger was completed. The band had been through major turmoil, going into therapy to try to resolve long-running tensions. Singer-guitarist James Hetfield went into rehab. How has the band evolved emotionally since you took over for Jason Newsted?
RT: It was kind of like entering a world of, I don't want to say, really, a healing period, but it just seemed like at times there was this freshness and there was this really positive energy and mindset. But at the same time, around James especially, sometimes it was like walking on eggshells, a little bit of a tightrope. You never knew what he was thinking ... Music didn't seem quite as much of a priority. Because James' family definitely had to take the priority, and still does. But at the time, things seemed a little weird in the balance. Now he's got his juju back.
Indy: You changed producers for the new CD, Death Magnetic, from Bob Rock to Rick Rubin. How do you look at the new CD and what Rubin tried to capture?
RT: I think it's a special album. I think it's a launchpad to the future. ... And the theme in this body of music is, it's got to groove. We actually recorded this stuff standing up. Rick was like, 'Everybody stand up and play these songs like you're performing them live.' That's the energy he wanted us to capture.
Indy: You're playing the shows in the round on the Death Magnetic tour. What are the shows like?
RT: It's going to be fresh and it's going to be exciting. We're thinking of new fans, too. We want for the new blood to go out there and experience a Metallica show at its fullest and not hold too much back there. So we just want to create a really great evening for everybody.
At Denver's Pepsi Center, Nov. 4.