Metallica Regroup, Plan For North American Tour In March

Trek will follow dates in Europe, Australia, New Zealand.

After canceling a run of shows in South America due to exhaustion, Metallica have recharged their batteries.

"We had to regroup," frontman James Hetfield explained. "It was more than us being burnt out physically. [We had to get back in shape] mentally and regroup a lot of our crew. It started to feel a little shaky, so we wanted to get strong."

Now Metallica say they're ready to take on the world once again. Between now and February they'll play Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and then on March 2 they'll kick off six months of North American tour dates, their first since Summer Sanitarium. Cities and venues have not been announced.

Before then, Metallica will release "The Unnamed Feeling," the third single from June's St. Anger. A video was recently shot by the Malloys, who shot the clip for "St. Anger" (see "Metallica Video Has 'Terminator 2' Star Facing Another Metal Beast"). "It's about anxiety and all of the feelings you want to hide," Hetfield said. "We're still messing with the editing."

St. Anger has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the United States, which some consider disappointing compared to sales figures for the band's prior releases. But that hasn't factored into Metallica's anxiety. "I haven't really thought much about it," Hetfield said. "It's a bummer, you know, but in Europe St. Anger is doing real good."

"It's a very challenging record," drummer Lars Ulrich said, "and in between Nickelback and whatever else is on U.S. radio these days, obviously it sounds odd and challenging. But look, it's our biggest record in Europe since the Black Album. And in America I'm really digging being the outsiders again 20 years into our career. To be hovering on the extremes again is kind of a fun thing."

The fact that Metallica won't be touring their homeland again for another three months — by which point St. Anger will have been out for nine months — probably won't help album sales any. The bandmembers are well aware of the predicament, and they've accepted it.

"We've always been a live band, and we have to get out there and play, play, play," Hetfield said. "It's kind of tough now because this was a time when we wanted to lie back a little bit and enjoy our families, so we can't change that. We can do our best, and that's all we can do."