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Puck Rock: Derek Morris

Remember that guy in high school who always wore the Metallica t-shirts and drew the Metallica logo all over his binders and backpack? Well, imagine if that guy became a hulking NHL defenseman. Such is the life of Derek Morris: defenseman, Phoenix Coyote, and Metallica nut. One has to wonder how stoked Morris must be for Guitar Hero: Metallica. In any case, Morris took a few minutes out of his time in between headbanging and skating to partake in the latest Puck Rock Q & A.

Rumor has it you’re a huge Metallica fan. How’d you get into them and which era of the band was it in?

I got into them in Junior High; I don’t know what era it would’ve been. It would’ve been the early stages of Metallica. The ‘Ride the Lightning’ CD is probably my favorite out of the ones they’ve done and ‘And Justice for All…’ I like the older ones.

(Mike’s note: So that means that if you ever happen to be at a party with Derek Morris and you own Rock Band, go download the Metallica track pack with the songs Ride the Lightning, Blackened, and And Justice For All. Throw him on the drums and watch the wackiness ensue.)

A lot of reviewers have commented that Death Magnetic blends some of their more recent sounds with the earlier long-fast-instrumental styles. What did you think of it?

I’m not a huge fan of it. Obviously it’s like that with every album that comes out after you’re used to the old, traditional stuff. When you hear the new stuff it doesn’t quite sound the same, or ring the same, or feel the same as the old stuff did, but I think they have the beat there and it’ll grow on you.

(Mike’s note: If Morris is like a lot of Metallica fans, Death Magnetic will certainly do just that and grow on him. An aggregate score from Metacritic shows that critics and fans alike think that Death Magnetic is much better than previous release St. Anger.)

How many times have you seen Metallica live and what was your best show?

I’ve seen them four times and the best one was actually here in Phoenix.

(Here’s a video from their stop in Phoenix. If you go frame by frame, maybe you can see Morris!)

(Mike’s note: When I was in high school, Metallica had a free concert at the Tower Records in San Jose. Apparently, the SJ police weren’t properly informed of this, and the logistics of the thing were a total disaster. Frustrated cops started handing out jaywalking tickets left and right to try and get some order in the place. That’s right, while some metal shows have hardcore citations like public intoxication and assault & battery, I was at the show where they gave out jaywalking tickets. One of my friends actually asked a cop if he was serious when he got his ticket.)

Lars Ulrich and the Napster controversy from several years back: whiny rich rock star or champion for artists everywhere?

I think he’s got to support the artists everywhere. Obviously, it takes those guys a while, everybody thinks because they’re rock stars they’re going to make all this money and everybody needs to support a family and grow a family, and that was his way of trying to keep Napster from stealing the up and coming artists.

What do you consider Metallica’s best album to be? Their worst? (I personally nominate Load for worst album)

The best album would be Ride the Lightning…

...and their worst is St. Anger.

(Mike’s note: I won’t make you listen to anything off St. Anger.)

Hit shuffle on your iPod. What’s the song that comes up?

It would be a Metallica song; it would probably be Battery.

What are your five desert island discs (best-of compilations and live albums acceptable)?

Metallica’s ‘Justice for All,’ Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning,’ I would have Garth Brooks ‘The Hits,’ George Strait’s ‘50 Greatest,’ and I would have Jimmy Buffet of some sort.

(Mike’s note: Now there’s an eclectic collection—metal, mainstream country, and margaritaville.)

What song should they never play again at hockey arenas?

The Good Ol’ Hockey Game’ by Stompin’ Tom Connors

(Mike’s note: Ouch! Cross-checking a hockey tradition.)

What song would you love to see a team skate out to at the start of a game? (not sure if you know this but the Sharks sometimes skate out of the shark head to Seek & Destroy)

Seek & Destroy.

(Mike’s note: It’s not quite a hockey team skating in for the opening faceoff but pro wrestler Sting—no, not Gordon Sumner the singer/songwriter/tantric-sex master —used to come into the ring to a live version of this song.)

You’ve just won the Stanley Cup. What song do you want put on the cheesy montage at the end of the TV broadcast?

Seek & Destroy.

(Mike’s note: One has to give major props to a guy who bypasses the standard We Are The Champions to select what, in my opinion, is Metallica’s best song off their debut album. For Phoenix Coyotes players about to rock, we salute you.)

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