Metallica drummer accepts band got out of control – but says they still do what they do for themselves
He understands people think the thrash giants lost their way, especially in their troubled period around the late 90s. But they still enjoy making music – and importantly, they still do it for themselves.
He tells FasterLouder: “It got out of control in the 90s. We were putting an album out every half an hour or something. We’ve certainly got our wrists slapped a couple of times by the community when we’ve gone too far.
“I’m not going to give you the crap about doing it for the fans – we do it for ourselves. But the best thing about music is when it’s a shared experience. So that’s why we’ve tried to give the fans so much access.
“If you’re going to give them access, don’t control the level of it depending on how your hair looks, what kind of mood you’re in or how many you had to drink the night before. If you’re going to open the door, open it wide.”
But Ulrich admits the door was perhaps opened too wide in their infamous 2004 documentary movie Some Kind of Monster.
“Maybe it was too much access,” he says. “I know people thought it was too much, and I appreciate and understand. But from a creative point of view it has authenticity – and I’m proud of that.”
As they reach the end of their two-year Death Magnetic world tour, with rumours of a Big 4 world tour alongside fellow thrash icons Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, Ulrich says his band are content with the way things are now.
He explains how far they’ve calmed down: “I’m not in the business of saying anything bad about anybody. I did that in my 20s and 30s. Our rider has fat-free milk, fruits you’ve never heard of, organic yoghurts – I don’t even think there’s a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in there.”
He’s even comfortable enough to describe his admiration for U2 – something he’d never have dreamed of doing fifteen years ago: “I’m the hugest U2 fan – I’d borderline call myself a groupie. I would play in a parking lot just to open for U2. I feel a lot of kinship for a band who have been going 30 years like us. They’re inspiring to me – I love their music, their thinking, I love the way they reinvent themselves and it works on all levels.”
In summary Ulrich says: “At some point along the way you figure out what kind of band you are. we’re a band who enjoy people having access to us. Metallica sits in a really good place right now. We actually hang out sometimes and we enjoy each others’ company. What’s not to love?”
Metallica -Lars Ulrich Interview - Australia 2010