Justin Hunt speaking to Harvester of Sofia: Metallica is, and has been, my best friend for the past 25 years
The highest compliment to me from James is to have his respect for me and my art like i do for him and his
The Bulgarian Metclub chapter Harvester of Sofia has the pleasure to meet you with Justin Hunt. He is an American filmmaker and became popular among Metallica fans with the film „Absent” in which James shares the story about his father who left the family when Hetfield was only 13 years old. The documentary movie examines the need for an emotional bond that children without fathers often experience. Justin Hunt was negotiating with possible narrators when his big break came via an e-mail. “I was driving on the freeway I almost crashed,” Hunt said. The e-mail was from METALLICA. Hetfield wanted to be involved with the project.
We contacted Justin for an interview:
Do you remember your first Metallica show and what impression the band left in you after that?
My first show was in 1999 at the blockbuster pavilion in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). i drove 9 hours to get there from las cruces, new mexico. jerry cantrell and days of the new opened for them. i was blown away. all i’d heard up to that point were tapes and cds, and this was real and in front of me. i could feel jason’s bass in my chest. it was amazing and unlike any other experience in my life, up to that point.
Have you ever thought that after more that 30 years Metallica will be one of the biggest bands in the music scene ever and that they will go beyond every boundary of the heavy metal music?
having studied, for the past 20 years, their professionalism, drive, management of self and business, marketing tactics and sheer aggression at taking control of their situation, as opposed to reacting to it, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that they are where they are.
Which are the songs that you think Metallica should play on stage more often? What is your dream setlist?
i think it’s important to mix up the set lists. so, i don’t have a ‘play more’ wish list. i am, however, a fan of a few of the classic concert favorites: bellz, one, creeping death, harvester, etc. if there is a track or two i’d personally like to see in concert that i haven’t yet, i’d say fixxxer, outlaw torn, bleeding me.
What has changed in the band as Rob came in? Do you think the fans already prefer him to Jason?
no comment on that one. i wouldn’t speculate or presume to speak for the fans on who they like better. they’re both amazing musicians. personally, i always had a liking for jason and his attitude, from the fan’s perspective. it did my heart good to see him onstage with them at the hall of fame induction.
How do you see Metallica in the near future (10 years) – less concerts and 1-2 new albums at most or nothing will change much and the band will continue roaming the planet with lots of shows each year.
i think metallica will continue to do what they’re best at doing, playing music for their friends, until they feel that they’re not doing it at their highest level. that’s how they operate, at the top. if ever they don’t feel it’s their best, then they’ll more than likely make what they feel is the best decision for the band and the hundreds of millions that love them.
What is Metallica personally for you? Did Metallica change your life in some way?
metallica is, and has been, my best friend for the past 25 years. they mean the world to me. they completely changed my life and how i approach it. actually, i wouldn’t say they changed it. they shaped it.
Did anything changed now after you and James are friends? Is there a difference between James Hetfield from Metallica and James the person?
our friendship is something that i have the deepest respect for. i think so many people are used to, and need, james hetfield of metallica that they lose sight of the fact that james hetfield is also a human being, just like you and i. is there a difference between the two? not much. what you see onstage now is the same james hetfield that makes faces at and jokes with my two children or that i discuss issues we face in life as men with. he’s utterly authentic as a person, and just happens to be one of the greatest guitarists and front men of all time. the highest compliment to me is to have his respect for me and my art like i do for him and his.
You made some screenings across USA. Do you have plans doing this in Europе?
i’d like to do some screenings in europe, for sure. i really just need to create a grassroots effort there and get the support of people like you to help get those things in motion. i’m doing all of the booking myself, so if anyone wants to do a screening they need just reach out and spark the conversation.
Have you ever expected that your movies will have such a huge impact for the people? And have you ever thought that you will make great successes with both of them?
i’d hoped they would, but i never expected it to be at this level. i don’t really make the films with the intent of reaching a certain number of people or affecting one particular group. i just make them because i feel they need to be made, and let God take it over from there.
Tell us more about you future plans?
professionally, i’m just hoping to keep going with these movies and making a difference in this world. i’m shooting my third film now and have ideas for more. i’d also like to direct a feature film soon. one goal i do have is to expand beyond the u.s. and really start causing an impact in other parts of the world on a larger scale.
Don’t laugh a lot now… If you ever make a movie for bullterriers will you call Kerrie King’s father? (Random question from one of our members)
i’ll mull over the bull terriers concepts and make SURE i call kerrie king’s father, should i move forward on that.
Do you know something for Bulgaria?
i don’t know as much about bulgaria as i’d like to. one thing i have been told is that the women there are beautiful, which, as a single guy, makes me want to visit. we should definitely do a screening there! ha ha.
Would you say something special to the members of HOS?
for the harvester of sofia chapter: i can tell you from personal experience that are you supporting not only the greatest heavy metal band of all time, but some of the most amazing men i’ve ever met. the music of metallica comes from within these men, not from the standpoint of ‘what would be commercially successful?’ in essence, you are not ‘fans’ of the music, you are literally friends of metallica who are sharing in their experiences here on this planet. they know who you are and they appreciate you and love you. i’ve been to HQ and have seen the banners hanging from the walls. you mean as much to them as they to you. don’t ever forget that. it’s that mutual love and respect that makes it worth every ticket you’ve ever bought, every line you’ve ever stood in, every shirt you’ve ever worn. and i’m honored, as a friend of metallica myself, to be invited into your chapter to share a few of my experiences. after all, isn’t that what being a metallica fan is all about?
much love from the states…justin