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Metallica’s James Hetfield on Chinese Censorship: Hopefully One Day They’ll Realize We’re Not a Political Threat

Raymond Ahner, Loudwire
Raymond Ahner, Loudwire

When bands perform in China, it is no secret that they must submit their song lyrics to the government, who then return to the band with a list of songs they can and can’t play as well as allowing certain songs as long as the lyrics are altered to something permissible. Metallica‘s recent trek to the country was no different, though James Hetfield seemed nonplussed by being forbidden from playing classics like “Master of Puppets.”

In an interview with South Morning China Post, the frontman was more than understanding about the censorship, stating, “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 is optimistic about returning to China and having the ability to play not just “Master of Puppets,” but other exclusions like “One” (in Shanghai) and “Hardwired.” “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,” he continued. “We’re not trying to bring a secret message to anybody.”

During Iron Maiden‘s performances in China last year, Bruce Dickinson toed the line with the censors, mouthing curse words and instructing the crowd to take a picture despite cameras not being allowed at the concert.

Metallica will embark on a North American stadium tour this summer, bringing along Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat and Gojira on select dates. For more info and a list of all stops, check our 2017 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours.

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