WJRR asked Lars Ulrich why Metallica cut their hair when Load came out in 1996.
The drummer replied (transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar):
“[Laughs] Let’s see now how I’m doing on my math – that was 21 years ago? 22 years ago? Close enough.
“It’s funny how these things end up being perceived – there was this perception that the 4 members of Metallica went to a barber shop together and ordered like a 4-for-1 discount, or some crazy thing like that.
“That wasn’t the case at all. [Jason] Newsted actually – he shaved his head on the ‘Black Album’ tour. That was the end of ’93, and ‘Load’ came out in ’96.
“So there was like an almost three-year span where – shock, horror – all four members of Metallica got haircuts at various times between ’93 and ’96. It was kind of a downtime.
“This was back in the day when there was no social media and when you’re off the radar, you’re off the radar. And then ‘Load’ came out, and all of the sudden there was like, ‘Woah! They all got haircuts!’
“Obviously, we didn’t get haircuts at the same time, we just all decided individually at different times to somewhat trim our hair.
“And then people came to the conclusion that that was some sort of contrived purposeful undertaking, which of course it wasn’t.
“People always find an angle to hit you in the places where you least expect it, and you have to accept that. And we accept that – some of it is kinda funny, actually.
“So occasionally we sit and chuckle when people throw some of the stuff at us. Which is fine. Ultimately, I guess it means that people care, that people are passionate, and sort of still caught up in what Metallica does.
“That’s a good problem to have. But I wish my hair was in that good of shape today. [Laughs] I wish for the glory days of 1996, but that’s a different conversation for another day.”