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After having "a blast" in June, Metallica hopes to bring Orion back to Detroit in 2014

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013

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If Metallica has its way, its Orion Music + More festival will return to Detroit's Belle Isle in 2014.

But the group members aren't the only voices that count.

"It's kind of up to the promoters at this point," notes band frontman James Hetfield, referring to Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents, Metallica's partner in Orion. The first festival was held during 2012 in Atlantic City. N.J., then moved to Belle Isle for two days in June this year, where Hetfield says the band was very happy with the results.

"I had a blast," he says. "I had a really good time. I love the island, love the city, love the people. We loved it. I think it went smoother than the previous one."

C3 has a three-year lease for Orion with the city of Detroit, which presumably transfers if and when the State of Michigan takes over Belle Isle. An estimated 40,000 attended this year's Orion, and Hetfield says decisions about the festival's future will come down to finances. "It's the money part, man, at the end of the day," he explains. "Our vote does count. We now that festivals don't make money right away, for sure. It's not that we're out to make money. We're at least out to break even -- and it certainly has not broken even yet.

"It's an expensive barbecue at this point."

C3 has not yet announced whether Orion will return to Belle Isle, though it has contacted some of this year's vendors and media partners about a possible return.

The band, meanwhile, has been busy promoting its new 3D film, "Metallica: Through the Never," which moved to standard theaters last weekend after opening Sept. 27 on IMAX screens. The film -- which combines live concert footage with a narrative starring actor Dane DeHaaan as a Metallica crew member on a mysterious mission -- has grossed $2.724 million so far, and Hetfield says that, after several years in the making, just having the movie out is enough for he and his bandmates.

"I didn't really have any huge expectations," Hetfield notes. "I'm just excited to have the baby out of the womb and walking around now, finally, over two years at least with the process as it was -- and having the idea for decades.

"As far as (box office) numbers coming back, management is certainly a little more focused on numbers and all of that and what it means. I don't know much about the movie world. As an artist, I just like that the thing is out there. It's exactly what we wanted, and we're proud of it."

Metallica will release "Through the Never" on Thursday, Oct. 10, in Australia, with more worldwide openings to be scheduled. Now, Hetfield says, the band is ready to hit the recording studio again and focus on a follow-up to its 2008 album, "Death Magnetic."

"Hopefully it happens soon," Hetfield says. "I'm itchin'. We have tons of material to sift through; that takes a lot of time because there's a lot of great stuff. I know we only need a few songs, but there's 800 riffs we're going through. It's kind of insane. We have sifted through a lot of the stuff and pulled the cream of the crop; it's just sitting there waiting for us to take it to the next level.

"I know we do need to decompress after this, get this film thing out of our systems. It's taken up a lot of time and a lot of effort. We go full-throttle into something and multi-tasking is not what we're after. So the next record will hopefully start some time in the spring."

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