Revolver magazine recently conducted an interview with METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Revolver: When you look back at METALLICA‘s 30-plus years, what are you proudest of?
Lars: I’m probably proudest of the fact that we’re still around and functioning as a band, making the occasional record, doing other projects, and still being somewhat relevant. After 32 years in the business, that’s probably the greatest achievement. Also the fact that we overcame a very well documented meltdown in 2001, 2002, and we not only survived that meltdown but we feel we came back a better band. All the work we put into trying to better ourselves then paid off. As a band, METALLICA is in great shape. We actually talk to each other. We can all be in the same room. We can sit on the same airplane together. We can stay in the same hotel. We can hang out at dinner. And I think that’s probably the greatest achievement of all of them.
Revolver: What keeps you together?
Lars: METALLICA is who we are. It’s our lives. I was 17 when I formed this band. I’ve never really known anything else other than a failed attempt at a tennis career. [laughs] I guess obviously it’s what defines us. Obviously, there’s our families and our children, but in terms of our careers or whatever, it’s what we do. And it’s something we’re fiercely protective of and fiercely proud of. I think the one thing you learn, if you want to be in a band and persevere, is that you have to be able to coexist and you have to find a way to compromise and figure all that stuff out somewhere along the way. Just figure that out. And we realized it was more important for us to be together and survive than for us to not survive. We just worked really hard at that.
Revolver: What do you feel is METALLICA‘s most underappreciated release?
Lars: I think “Load” and “Reload” are great records. They are creatively on par with every other record we’ve made. Obviously, they’re bluesier records, and at that time, we were listening to a lot of LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE, and AC/DC, and we had a different kind of foundation than records before or after. And I understand that there are people who couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with the haircuts and the rest of it, and that’s fine. But musically, if you strip all that other stuff away, if you just listen to the 27 songs — “Load” and “Reload” were intended as one double-record — it’s a great collection of songs that is on par with everything else that we’ve done creatively. But, I mean, who needs another person to sit there and argue about, you know, fucking “Carpe Diem Baby”? They are different records, but that was the intention. [laughs] It’s not like we sat there and thought we were remaking “…And Justice For All”. [laughs] We are obviously aware of that. But I think personally there’s great songs on both of those records and I’m very proud of those records.
Revolver: You’re also working on a new METALLICA record. How is it sounding?
Lars: We’re in the early stages of writing, and all I can say is there are some good things lurking. It’s fun. Between doing the film and the Orion [Music + More] festival, we’ve been taking a few days here and there to shift through riffs and get all that shit done. We’ve got to put them into song shape and get our asses in the studio. I hope we can do that by the end of the year, maybe early next year. 2014 is a bit optimistic for the album to come out, so ’15 is more realistic. But listen, there’s no rush. It’s gonna take what it takes. I don’t feel stressed about it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. Ten years ago, 20 years ago, we were in this whole cycle where we would write-record-tour, write-record-tour. Now we have a different way of being in the band. We like to play every year, but we don’t want to play 200 shows in a row and then take a year off. We like to play 30 shows, 40 shows. It’s better than playing 200 shows one year, and then no shows the next year. It’s cool to be doing these different types of things and new records are fun and cool, and there will be a new METALLICA record, but I can’t stress myself out over it.
Read the entire interview from Revolver magazine.