Early Metallica Producer: 'Lars Nailed the Machine Gun Part of 'One' in One Take'

Yet it became one of the most criticized parts of live 'Tallica performance.

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Early Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen, the man who helmed the production of group's three classic efforts, recently shared quite a few tasty bits from back in the day, on of them being the much-discussed machine gun drum part of "One."

Asked by the Rock Hall about "...And Justice for All," Flemming noted that the album "was just hard to get because there were such intricate parts," explaining how the band was always setting the bar high, this time around requiring an extra amount of recording time.

Focusing on the mentioned drum pattern, the producer added, "There were a couple of the drum tracks on '...And Justice,' the whole album, that were kind of difficult; and strangely, what I would have thought was the most difficult part of all, which is the machine gun part of 'One,' that was all done in one take. Lars [Ulrich] just nailed that."

During the rest of the chat, Rasmussen discussed the initial contact with Metallica after the release of "Kill 'Em All," saying that the group had opted for recording in Copenhagen, Denmark mostly due to financial reasons. "They could get twice the amount of studio time in Europe compared to what it costs in the States," he said.

Moving on, the producer unveiled that "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was the very first track the band had recorded using a click-track. Switching to "Master of Puppets" title song, Flemming noted that the classic tune pretty much recorded itself.

"The whole 'Master' session was actually just one big smile. We had that positive energy thing where 'this is going to be the best album we've ever done; this is going to blow 'em all away,' and we all excelled, I think. That's a really, really good album," he said.

Finally, Rasmussen was asked to single out his favorite Metallica recording. "I would say 'Sanitarium' on 'Master of Puppets' is probably one of them," he replied. "That's the one with the mono-stereo - and I'm a sucker for that kind of s--t, you know, when you sit with headphones and you go, 'What the hell was that?'"

The producer concluded, "We all had this feeling where what we were doing, we were going to go a long way. We were going to change music history. And I think that was the project from the beginning. Also, you know, we think about it and they had their own thing going, and they had this tremendous energy, that kind of is a trademark for the band. They don't want to rely on MTV to play their videos, so they didn't make any videos, because they didn't care because that wasn't important to them. It's been like that with Metallica always."

81 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Oh come on, that section is not even close to be the hardest drumming part on that album. I bet Dyers Eve's verses were a lot harder.
    For the love of shit people, Metallica has never been about Lars and the drums or Kirk and his wah. they play what fits the songs. The Metallica sound is, was, and always will be about James Hetfield and that monster right hand.
    Exactly. Plus, there were plenty of drummers who were doing tougher stuff at that time. I like Metallica's songs better than Slayer, but Lombardo has always been miles ahead of Lars. And the riff in One is not that intricate. It's just a sextuplet played under a simple 4/4 beat. If you want to talk about an epic drum riff that came out around that time - Painkiller by Judas Priest. Good God, that's some tasty drumming. (edit: I think that One is a truly epic song, I'm just throwing around some perspective.)
    We could also just mention Gene Hoglan or Paul Bostaph. Insane drummers with crazy double pedal control and power. Listen to Dark Angel - Darkness Descends. The whole album. That was crazy drumming.
    Yeah and Lars' drumming on One is a rip-off of the track Darkness Descends. To be fair to Hoglan when he was asked if he thought about suing Metallica he said at first he was but then realized his band were ripping off Metallica's style in the first place.
    It seems to me that he singled out that part because Lars got it right on the first take, not because it was the most difficult part.
    If you own Guitar Hero: Metallica, there's a BTS video showing Lars trying to do the motion capture for Shortest Straw, and it took him well over a dozen times to get the timing right for the intro. I could only imagine that it was just as difficult when they first recorded, and I would think that that would have been the most difficult part for him. Not a bunch of sixteenth notes in a row.
    It wasn't "over a dozen" times. He tried it a couple of times, then he said "let me just hear the thing, trust me I'm a really fast learner." Then he snapped his fingers to count the beat, and then he nailed it. I'm not saying he's a fantastic drummer, but I'll let him have that one at least.
    That's exactly why Charlie Benante from Anthrax recorded most of the drums on "Dyer's Eve" and had them spliced together with Lars' takes in the studio. Even at Lars' best in the mid-to-late 80's his playing was still far inferior to what Dave Lombardo, Gene Hoglan, Bentante, Tom Hunting and so many other thrash drummers were doing at the time. Metallica's early albums were great because of Hetfield, Burton and Hammett... Lars was adequate at best.
    Yeah, what proof do you have of this? Seems like you're pulling the Benante story out of thin air
    Not thin air at all. The story's been around for years. Seeing an article about Lars' drumming I felt compelled to bring it up. Search the interwebs... not the most reliable source but you'll see that I didn't just make up the idea randomly.
    Typical Tool fan... very imaginative. No offense to Tool fans yet just like anything, imagination could be used for either good or bad.
    Lars was never a metal drummer. Lars was always a punk drummer who wound up in a metal band. Say what you will, but his drumming style goes perfectly with James and Dave's Riffs
    You said it perfectly i think. And, let's face it, Lars has had a huge impact on Metallica's sound and groove. Who knows what the band might have been without him?
    People complain about Lars' drumming these days... rightfully so (he has gotten a little sloppy), but the drumming in ...And Justice For All is emaculate, and nobody can deny that.
    As much as people bag on Lars, here's my two cents... his beats often inspire me to air drum. Just as much as play I air guitar to Metallica songs, I bang on invisible drums too... and maybe it just comes with a bit of age (I'm 29) but I feel like a memorable drum beat is exceedingly more important than a showboat drummer... and Lars has created some very memorable drum beats, so in my book, he's a great drummer.... just lazy these days.
    I'm 28 and I can relate to that... Whiplash, Fight Fire With Fire, Battery, One, Holier Than Thou, Cyanide, etc...
    I still remember to this day the moment I listened to 'One' for the first time. I thought it was epic. I was maybe 13 at the time. I think Lars drumming back then was really good. I'm not a drummer, but I found what he did on that album to be great and interesting. He went from playing straight-up metal on Kill'em All to 'And Justice' in like 5 years. Do I think that there were better drummers out there at the time? Sure. Were there better guitarists than James and Kirk out there in the 80's? Of course. Better singers than James? Yep. The music speaks for itself. It was well executed and thought-out. And those three guys created a great album. I can't hear what Jason did, but I'm pretty sure it was good, too. Lol
    Metallica won't sound like Metallica if isn't Lars playing on the drums. There is something unique in the way that he plays his parts that does not make it sound generic.
    totally agree, when they played with that gig with jordison on drums its was awesome but it just wasn't Metallica. Love him or hate him, his got his own sound.
    If I see one original comment I will eat my hat. Cue; "st anger sucks" "lars sucks" "kirk sucks" "omg i can drum so much better"
    My issue with Metallica is there isn't enough gallop to it. Get it? My picture is a horse. And horses gallop. They also canter. Trotting... I guess what i'm trying to say is that i like horses. I also like Metallica. I'd probably listen to metallica while riding a horse; maybe even a horse that is galloping.But unless i'm listening to Kill 'em all i'm probably not going to get much gallop from the rhythm. Now i'm just beating a dead horse... HAHAHA more horse jokes.I'm funny. People like me at parties.
    I would be far more interested to find out what happened to Newstead's bass on Justice. I ruined what should have been THE thrash record of the 80's and I unclude Puppets in that one (personal preference and all that..) Accorsing to Rex Brown's autobiography Lars said something along the lines of 'we mixed the bass out to f@ck with Jason'. A shame really.
    There's nothing to find out. James and Lars were ****ed up big time from Cliff's death, so they took that anger and grief out on Jason. They made the decision to cut the bass out as part of their ongoing hazing of Jason. It's.....Sad but True
    There have been TONS of quotes and comments regarding that, from Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett, Rasmussen (I think), and Newsted himself. Not sure what's left to find out.
    God, so much elitism in these comments. I'm not even the biggest fan of Metallica anymore and I'll even contend that the drum riff that closes "One" is ****ing PUMMELLING. And can I do it? No! So Lars is automatically a better drummer than I am, and I'm guessing the same goes for most of you, though I'm sure at least a couple of you might have the chops to do it. Still though, AJFA is a killer album, "One" is still an ace track, and I still play it on guitar from time to time. It's part of my repertoire, and it inspired the shit out of me.
    AJFA is my favourite album by them. It was thrash metal but it was 'sophisticated' in my opinion. One might even say there are traces of prog metal in it. It's very dark, complex riffs, machine like sounds ... it's just an all round great album that showcases what these guys are truly capable of as being musicians.
    It was the upper echelon of thrash metal. They were scared to go after it once it came time for the next album which is why we have the black album and that whole weird not-metal Metallica in the 90s.
    Lars doesn't have great technical skills but he is/was a very great and creative musician. A lot of people should have more respect for this guy and for what he did for music...
    A producer says that Lars did a good job. All the hipsters who think it's cool to rip on one the the worlds most successful drummers get butthurt and start talking about how other drummers are "better" FACT is 99.99% of these people would DIE to have Lars in their band.
    Second Rate
    Somehow I doubt it's a "FACT" that 99.99 percent of these people would "DIE" to have Lars in their band.
    - Mike nailed it on one bass drum
    I didn't mean to up vote this. For one thing, two bads drums are mostly just for show. They can help each drum hit have a fuller kick, but overall, it's mostly about looks. Therefore, the fact that he played this on one drum is irrelevant. Also, he didn't write this part. He's just parroting the pieces someone else already created. You know who did write and also nail those drum parts? ...yeah, it was Lars. He's a shit drummer these days, and he wasn't ever the best, but it's not a competition, and he created something original and iconic.
    it's not important,important is WHO WROTE this legendary part and song.in compare with this are Dream Theater and Portnoy Big Nothing ..
    Somebody should convince Lars to get back to coke, cause the secret of Lars' great drumming in the 80s and 90s lies behind that.
    I seen Metallica live recently and while I'm no real drum expert or anything, he sounded great. The best thing about Metallica is James guitar playing, it's phenomenal really, and Lars accompanies it perfectly even adding bits of magic here and there. You can sit and watch youtube videos all day and pick out mistakes here and there, but when you are there, it just works. Believe me.
    Big deal, Chris Adler nailed the entire New American Gospel album in one take and the drum sections are way more technical than anything Lars could play. Irrelevant "news".
    New American Gospel is a modern metal drummer's wet dream. Not everyone likes the sound of his drums (it's understandable considering how tight and dry the drums sound), but there is no denying how intricate and machine-like the drumming is on NAG (and most of their other stuff)
    But the funny thing is, that's exactly what puts me off of his drumming. It might as well be a drum machine, because to me, it has no feeling. There is no groove. Technicality is impressive, but it doesn't necessarily sound good. This is all subjective, but that sort of thing is really only usually appealing to musicians. Most non-musicians prefer to let the music come first, while most musicians (especially in metal) are more apt to focus on the musicianship over the material (aside from its complexity).
    Good for him...Sadly, I trust in what I see, and what I see is a sloppy drummer.
    We tease our drummer about how sometimes when he forgets a part he plays a long sequence of snare hits. We call it going into "Lars mode".
    Lombardo recorded the turbo bass drum part of War Ensemble at half speed and had it doubled to fit the song, he even admitted that. It was due to back problems.
    Well, that's different then, isn't it? We all know he can play it live even to this day, so no biggy. Nobody is questoning Dave Lombardo.
    This guy killed the bass on And Justice For All, so I won't give much credit to what he says...
    No, whoever mixed it killed the bass. Rasmussen wasn't there at the mixing stage, which is WHY the bass ended up in the same frequencies as James Hetfield's guitar tone, effectively canceling it out.
    Thompson and Barbiero. Somewhat oddly, the same guys who mixed Appetite for Destruction .
    I did not know that. App for Destruction is a great sounding album. I guess the difference is that Slash and Izzy's tones are much more manageable than Hetfield's. Metal is not very easy to mix, especially back in the 80's/early 90's. The frequencies need very precise and careful tweaking, which is made easier with DAWs and VSTs
    By "Lars Ulrich" he means Charlie Benante. Had to say it. It's just one of those conspiracy theories that has A LOT of evidence to back it up.
    What kind of evidence?
    The kind people wearing tin foil hats, hiding in their mom's basement find. Y'know the completely legit ones.
    There's a BIG difference between one musician subbing for another musician in the studio (which happens ALL THE TIME)and... tin foil hats or whatever you're saying...