At this year’s Grammy Awards, Metallica will play their song “One” with Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang, and the band is hard at work preparing for that moment. “It’s gonna be completely insane,” guitarist Kirk Hammett tells Rolling Stone from his home in San Francisco. “Lang Lang has interjected himself into the song in a way I don’t think anyone else has ever done in the course of our career. He’s going to be playing major parts of the song. He’s going to be playing through the melody.”
The Grammy-Award winning song, which served as the centerpiece of Metallica’s 1988 album . . . And Justice for All, doesn’t seem like it would allow for much interpretation. Over seven minutes long, the bombastic antiwar anthem alternates between moody melodics and a punishing closing section with jackhammer guitar and drums that punctuates frontman James Hetfield’s descriptions of suffering after surviving a landmine. But Hammett says that the band has already been working on a demo of the track with Lang Lang’s contributions and it works. “He’s going to be weaving in and out of my guitar solos, which is amazing for me, because I’ve never played with another instrument that’s been able to do that so effortlessly,” he says.
But don’t think the band plans to soften anything up. “We’re keeping all the heavy parts,” he says. “And it’s going to be really cool and it’s really dynamic.”
The world will hear Metallica and Lang Lang’s interpretation of “One” on Sunday, January 26th, when the Grammy Awards are broadcast live on CBS. That week the group will release a traditional take on the song as one of the many tracks in their film Metallica: Through the Never, which will get a Blu-ray, 3-D Blu-ray, DVD and digital release.