According to Rock, Page expressed his appreciation for the CD when the produced ran into the guitarist while they were both eating breakfast at hotel. “I know Jimmy,” Bob said. “He got up and walked over to me, gave me a big hug, and said, ‘It’s great to see you,’ blah blah, ‘I love the ‘St. Anger’ album.'”
White’s praise came at a screening of the documentary “It Might Get Loud”, which co-starred Page. “I was at the premiere, and Jack White came over,” Bob recalled. “He says, ‘I’m Jack White.’ I said, ‘I know.’ He says, ‘That’s my favorite METALLICA album.’ So,” laughed Rock, “I’m okay with those two.”
Rock did acknowledge that “St. Anger” wasn’t embraced by many METALLICA fans, who criticized it for its lack of guitar solos, extended riffs, its raw production and the thin drum sound.
“It’s a very odd record,” he conceded. “But it is… It’s the truth. It’s the raw truth about them at that time.”
Rock also addressed the drum-sound controversy, explaining: “People comment about the sound, but when we went in, I said to them, ‘I can’t set up the drums exactly the same way. I can’t do that.’ It’s like, why does metal music have to have this certain sound before it’s metal? So I kicked the can a bit in that way.”
He continued: “We could talk about this for a long time, but, really, the sound of the drums on that, I got the first set that [Lars Ulrich] ever used when they rehearsed in the house in Oakland, when they first got together. I set it up and Lars stared at it, right? For, like, months. And then one day he sat down and played, and it was ringing and it was raw, and he said, ‘This is it.'”
Rock also discussed the lack of solos on the album. According to the producer, “Lars said, ‘No guitar solos.’ And [James Hetfield] and I are going, ‘But … that’s what [Kirk Hammett] does.’ So every song, Kirk comes in and plays a solo, and if it doesn’t make the song better, we’re not using it — and we went through the whole album like that.”