METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke to Roche of the Washington D.C. radio station DC101 earlier this week about the band’s next major project, which is its Orion Music + More festival, a band-curated two-day event which will take place in late June in Atlantic City and feature over 20 artists as well as lifestyle attractions and other entertainment. Ulrich also discussed METALLICA‘s collaborative album with Lou Reed, “Lulu”, which came out to poor sales and disastrous reviews last November. You can now listen to the chat below.
When asked for his take on the fan reaction to “Lulu”, Lars said, “You learn along the way to sort of take it all with just a little bit of distance. Obviously, it’s fantastic in 2012 that the Internet gives everybody access to voicing their opinions, and I think it’s an incredible medium to communicate and to bring the world closer. But, obviously, as an artist, or somebody who is creating something, you’ve gotta be careful how deep you dive into what everybody’s talking about, because it could really screw with your mind. I’ve always been in a place where I’m pretty thick-skinned, so it doesn’t bug me that much. It was difficult for Lou Reed because he takes everything very personally. And I think he was very surprised. We told him all along: ‘Listen, there are some very, very, very hardcore metal fans out there that like everything pre-packaged in a particular little box that looks like this, and the minute that you slightly veer outside of that, then they have a hernia.’ And that’s fine — I’m fine with that. People have to understand, and I think I’ve been saying this for the better part of 30 years now [laughs], and I’m still trying to come up with different ways of saying it, but it boils down to the same thing, which is that people have to understand that in METALLICA, we sort of need to continue to shake it up for ourselves and to try different things and to try different experiences; that’s part of what we need to survive creatively. So, in this situation, when a legend, icon like Lou Reed calls up and says, ‘Come and make a record with me,’ it’s like, Okay. We’ll come and make a record with you.’ And then you just jump out on that adventure and see where it takes you. You know, that’s the great thing about being in METALLICA — we can kind of do that, and we don’t have to really answer to anybody and we don’t have to go get money from anybody to make it happen, or whatever. So it’s a luxury. And I understand that there are some people that resent that, because they want METALLICA to kind of just do what they want METALLICA to do. But I can’t live like that. [Laughs] So it was a really, really fun experience to make this record. It was a little difficult, obviously, the reaction to it, because we felt that we really made something that was impulsive and beautiful and had its own kind of thing going. But the interesting thing is, in the last couple of weeks, every couple of, two-three days, I guess Howard Stern started talking about a song on there last week called ‘Junior Dad’ and about how wrong he was about the record when he first heard it and about how ‘Junior Dad’ is this incredibly beautiful song and he listened to it the whole week and he advised everybody to go and do the same. And I just saw some piece in, I think it was the LA Weekly or something, somebody sent me, talking about how the actual real album of 2011 was ‘Lulu’, but nobody is gonna recognize it for another 20 years. So, one by one, they’re crumbling. [Laughs] In about 900 years from now, people will be able to talk about ‘Lulu’ face to face with each other without hiding behind masks. So we look forward to that day. [Laughs]”
“Lulu” has polarized fans around the world and earned METALLICA some of the most scathing reviews of its career. The effort features the former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman’s spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA‘s musical assault for a jarring experience that doesn’t sound like anything METALLICA has ever attempted before. A concept album based on two early 20th century plays by German author Frank Wedekind, the CD was co-produced by Reed, METALLICA, Hal Willner — who has produced albums for Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and Laurie Anderson, among others — and Greg Fidelman. Fidelman also mixed the record.
The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed‘s “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat” at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.
The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.
Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, “Junior Dad”, clocks in at 19 minutes.