All four members of Metallica are interviewed in ‘The Big Issue’ of the new supersize, subscriber-only special edition of Rolling Stone. In it been James Hetfield reveals that the band have nearly a thousand riffs ready for the Metallica record.

Hetfield said about the writing process: “I only have 846 riffs. In iTunes, you can see how many things you’ve got. And that does not include the soundchecks, the stuff we goof around with here. You plug in an amp. Suddenly it makes you feel good — you come up with a riff. ‘Dude, did you get that?’ You can’t get away from being recorded here.”

Hetfield added, “But Lars, the hoarder of Metallica, is obsessed with revisiting every stone, turning it over: ‘That could be great!’ Yeah, it could all be great. But I’ve got a new one right now. That’s the Catch-22. You’ve got a riff from five years on tour that’s amazing. Do I still feel it? Don’t worry. Something better will show up.’

Bassist Rob Trujillo weighed in: ‘I have about 20 ideas that I feel really good about, whereas on ‘Death Magnetic’ I had one or two,” adds Trujillo. “But one of them ended up being ‘Suicide and Redemption’. Hetfield — he’s a writing machine. Kirk has over 300 ideas. There’s so much stuff from the tuning-room jams, from all those years of touring.’

Lars Ulrich gets analytical: “I’ve been sitting with [the songs from the ‘black’ album] for a month now, listening to them while I’m driving, immersing myself before we play them: ‘Why did we go one key up there? Why did we repeat that thing four times instead of two?’ I was thinking about it again today. There was a moment in ‘Sad But True’ with that half-chorus in the middle. Then it went back to the guitar solo, and then there was a little break before it goes into the third verse.

“I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Why was it put together like that?’ Maybe we can slightly borrow that?’ If you can’t rip yourself off, what’s the point? It will be interesting to see, once we take this album out to people in different countries, what we’ll come back with for the writing sessions in the fall.”

Kirk Hammett reveals in the issue that a majority of their finances now come from touring: “The cycles of taking two years off don’t exist anymore. We were able to do that because we had record royalties coming in consistently. Now you put out an album, and you have a windfall maybe once or twice but not the way it used to be — a check every three months.”

Full interviews with each member of Metallica are now available in the latest ‘Big Issue’ of Rolling Stone magazine.

The first ever newsstand edition of the fan club publication “So What!” is available with a 132 page extravaganza devoted to the 30th anniversary celebration at the Fillmore Theatre in December of 2011. Check out a few pages with the e-reader preview here: http://bit.ly/JeJaVr. Order from Metallica.com here: http://bit.ly/HQa60j. Our European friends can order directly from Metal Hammer here: http://bit.ly/IU466s

Dave Mustaine’s recently spoke out loud about the fact he wanted to put together a supergroup featuring himself and Megadeth bassist David Ellefson along with Metallica’s James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich.

That prompted Hetfield to tell Metallica’s fan magazine, So What!, “I see [Mustaine] healthier now. I see him as less of a bitter guy. But I do see a lot of stuff in the press with him talking about jamming with us and making an album, all this other crazy stuff. I read it and say to myself, ‘Hold on. This is the Dave that we kind of wanted to forget about. You know, the big-mouth that wants to just go-go-go. But there is an authenticity about him when he speaks. He doesn’t think too much before he does. He just goes off the cuff. Plus, when he says stuff like that, it’s well-intended.”

After hearing Hetfield’s comments, Mustaine told Artisan News, “I already sent [James] a text message and said I apologized to him for saying that and that I won’t ever mention it again. I like James and I thought what he said was flattering, and then it kind of went the opposite way, and then it kind of came back again. And you know, that’s okay. I guess my whole thing was I just wanted them to know that I loved them and that I missed them and I enjoyed playing with them. If that’s not mutual, then I understand. I still respect him, and I still care about the guy. If he doesn’t wanna play [with me] anymore, that’s cool. If he doesn’t like the idea of what I said, that’s okay, too. It wasn’t like I said it was gonna happen, it was something that I kind of wished would happen. But you know, it’s okay now, since it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna happen. And you know what?! It’s off my bucket list.”