(TRR) – Last night at 92y in New York City, legendary drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica sat down with host Mike Hogan for a career interview. The Grammy Award-winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer talked about wide variety of topics including his childhood, Metallica’s legacy, touring, Napster, the entertainment industry, and what’s next for his iconic metal band. The candid conversation gave the audience a more intimate look at the life of Lars, and a first-hand account of Metallica’s long journey. The entire conversation can be streamed below.
When asked about what single song best encompasses everything Metallica, Ulrich replied by altering the question. “I think its better asked about live songs,” he said. “You know, ‘Sad But True.’ There’s one, for me, I love playing that live. Also ‘Sanitarium.’ Those two I really get to let loose on back there [behind the drum kit].”
In 1991, Metallica traded in their lengthy thrash tracks for slower, heavier chunks of metal. Though it was their greatest commercial success, some fans and critics argue that Metallica (The Black Album) was the departure from the style that made Metallica famous. The album led to the subsequent releases of Load (1996) and Reload (1997). When asked which songs original bassist Cliff Burton would have particularly liked or disliked on the band’s three albums from the 90s, Ulrich simply replied, “All of them.” Ulrich elaborated, stating, “It’s easy to sit here and say, ‘what would The Black Album have sounded like with Cliff? Or, even today, ‘what would Hardwired… have sounded like with Jason Newstead?” It is what it is, basically, according to Ulrich.
In 2017, Metallica are more then a metal band. They’re a monstrous corporate entity. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, and neither is Ulrich. “It’s not about the money,” he stated. “And our goal is, with lot of the money we make, to put it back into our production to make things bigger and better of our fans.” Furthermore, Lars said, “Whether it’s an album or a tour, or a movie we’ve made, no matter how good or bad (laughing), there’s nothing I would change about the business decisions that we’ve made.”
Ulrich even touched on politics to a certain degree. Metallica are famous for their extensive touring to all corners of the world. Hell, they played a show on a glacier in Antarctica. Lars discussed the difficulty in bringing Metallica to the masses in countries with certain political climates. “We’d want to play everywhere, but it’s difficult,” he said delicately. “You know, there’s a lot of hard rock fans in the Middle East that we would love to play for, but the infrastructure just isn’t there right now.”
Ulrich also put to rest any rumors that the band might be hanging it up soon. Host Mike Hogan asked, “Do you think you can keep playing your style of music at, say, 70?” Ulrich replied, “Aside from any physical ailments, I don’t see any reason for this [Metallica] to slow down.”
Lars also elaborated on how Metallica came to be as successful as they are. “Back in the day, you traded tapes with your friends and wrote letters to people across the country talking about what bands you were listening to,” he reminisced. “That’s how you found out about new bands. And that’s how bands got popular.”
“We didn’t go to the fucking mainstream. The mainstream came to us.”