Lars Ulrich: I Once Had to Sell My Record Collection So Metallica Could Eat

"I sold the whole box to a guy named John Strednansky for $300."

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Lars Ulrich: I Once Had to Sell My Record Collection So Metallica Could Eat

Lars Ulrich remembered the early struggles of Metallica, telling Voir (via Google Translate):

"I sold my 7-inch singles, the EPs. I sold the whole box to a guy named John Strednansky for $300.

"We needed money to eat. We ate.

"Since that time, I have bought some of the singles back. But at the time, you had to do what you had to do!"

He also remembered a label called Banzai Records printing and distributing the band's material back in '85 and how their edition of "Ride the Lightning" had a typo on the song listing, saying:

"'For Whom the Bells Toll,' that's it!

"Listen, at that time, we were very happy to be able to make records. There is a version of 'Ride the Lightning,' which came out on the Bernett label, it was a trick in France. It was green.

"At that time, there was not a lot of resources, they were doing what they had to do and they were passionate about it. They were in the right frame of mind. They believed in Metallica and as a matter of fact, stuff like that happened.

"This kind of stuff does not fade when you find yourself on a major label. Certainly I remember Banzai, it was a beautiful period, beautiful years. We appreciate everything they did at the time.

"Who would have thought that 33 years later, we would be sitting here together in a trailer. A trailer with an air conditioner, with drapery covering half of the trailer. Pure luxury!"

During the rest of the chat, Ulrich confirmed that "Master of Puppets" re-release is coming fairly soon, saying:

"We will try to get it out by the end of the year. It's coming. We are working on this.

"There are so many things associated with 'Master of Puppets.' It is an immense project. We spent a lot of time working on 'Hardwired.' 'Master of Puppets is,' of course, the next [re-release]. We hope to release it by the end of the year, if not, a little later."

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I keep being amazed at Lars his ability to remember so much details about the past.  Of course this may sound like something that should be obvious. But Lars has had quite a hectic life.  Seeing an meeting lots of people, thousands of concerts. I'm just baffled by it. Many times during meet and greets you hear a fan chatting about a gig way back when and Lars just chips in and talks about what happened back stage and why James' string broke during the 3rd song of the set etc.
    People now: "Old bands had it good, young bands can't get going because they have no money." Alice Cooper: "We stole money out of purses to eat." Metallica: "We sold Lars's records to eat." Lynyrd Skynyrd: "We had nothing to eat but peanut butter and we loved it." I could go on.
    You should read Rollins' book about Black Flag -Get in the van if you haven't, they played in front of some college between the stairs and students threw coins and food at them for "sucking" so bad, and the bassist put down his guitar and picked up food and coins, that's how poor they were. I remember a story Blackie Lawless once told how he lived in a shed and smeared peanut butter with a social security card, something like that. Maybe all of that cat food Danzig was carrying wasn't what we thought it was, heh? JUST LAYIN MY MOTHERFOKIN BRICKS, MAN
    Way Cool JR.
    That was only rough beginnings.  Thanks to the record labels and people that actually bought music back in the day, they all made out like bandits.  
    Still, you had to find a record label, pay for studio time and record a demo. Not everyone succeeded. I believe it was tougher back then. Nowadays everyone can record stuff and demos in his bedroom, and publish it on the Internet. And all that for free. You can have your daytime job and making music at the same time, you don't have to travel like they had to. And most importantly, if it doesn't work, you don't lose anything. People like to complain and find excuses
    Way Cool JR.
      The label is the key.  They are the ones that book you shows that you could never land on your own, they are the ones that arrange world tours and advertise your band way beyond any self promoter can ever do themselves, they front you the money to record your albums, and they get your music airplay. They sell your albums in places you can only dream of doing yourself, it goes on and on.  People like to shit all over labels nowadays thinking that today's tech can work better for them and get them farther for cheaper. The labels are the ones with the contacts and the pull in the industry.  If you want a serious career in music and world recognition a label 9 times out of 10 is the only way you will ever achieve that.   If people continue on with their new way of trying to do everything by themselves the industry as we know it will cease to exist.  The smart people know that labels are the key to keeping all types of music in popular culture. All the bands mentioned in the OP are bands that only made it to their level because of their talent and (the big thing) the labels backing them.  Otherwise most of the world would have never known who they are and they wouldn't be the legends that they are now. That would have been a shame if that never happened.      
    When I was working two jobs for a bit after college, I would listen to the radio to hear new bands. Never would have happened without label support. After they featured a string of bands and singles I hated, I sought out different places to hear rock music. So the label and what it promoted helped me find the music I liked and exposed me to what was trendy. At least there was a barometer. Nowadays, you don't know what they're hell is good. Spotify or satellite radio is so hungry for news stuff to satisfy all the short attention span crowd that it plays anything. Anything at all that's new. The old songs get replaced pretty quick. It's like you don't have time to form an opinion of a song in today's society lol
    Yeah, its been awful for radiohead in music and Louis Ck in comedy. Theyve only cut out the middle man and made millions of dollars
    Way Cool JR.
    Radiohead did not go anywhere until they signed with EMI records. Louis CK already had connections and was in the industry before his solo career kicked off. It's a diferent gig for comedians anyways.
    So they don't have a label, I'm guessing that'll have some sort of agent or manager though.
    Modern bands also make out like bandits once they get a label and capitalize on that.
    Peanut butter is expensive
    It is very cost-effective if you make it last long because of how filling it is.
    Good point. I can't not see it as a luxury dessert rather than lots-o-calories spoonbombs.
    80% of what I've eaten since mid-July is peanut butter sandwiches. I finally got sick of them and ordered some burgers, which I'm keeping in my fridge to last a few days. I don't have a microwave so I'll have to eat them cold. The joys of scrimping to save as much money as possible.
    It probably happened once, then they made a legend out of it.   "We once stole money out of purses to eat"  "We once sold Lars's records to eat."   "We once had nothing to eat but peanut butter and we loved it."  TLDR: bullshit.   
    Well, you can only sell your record collection once. Then you have to collect it again.
    No, according to Cooper and Skynyrd, it was a regular thing. Just do some Googling.
    Wouldn't this have been a more appropriate topic for the picture of his dong?
    Better yet, just make that the footer of every Metallica article, because why the fuck not?
    Why are you replying to yourself?
    I have a copy of the green Ride the Lightning, it's one of my most prized possessions. I'm in a lot of Metallica collector groups and from what I've gathered talking to many collectors, it was limited to 1000. 
    If that guy back then knew how much this collection would be worth all these years later.
    Despite what anyone thinks about the guys drumming and file sharing opinions, the guy was a relentless promoter for his band and was a true fan of the scene before Metallica came into existence.  
    And now metallica fans have to sell their record collection too just to afford tickets to see metallica. Oh how the times change.
    MurphySanders7 · Aug 10, 2017 12:45 PM
    Always opt for a liquid dinner. 
    Have they re-released any of their other albums yet? And where's the CD copy of the demo?
    so does this line up with the story where they were eating blogna in their hand.. basically no bread.. so this is the pre story to the other story? lol
    A box of records is not a collection. 
    Way Cool JR.
    Even if you only have 3 records you have already started your collection.  I had over 600 at one point and even I wouldn't scoff someone with only a "box of records".    
    Exactly, and a collection is barely ever complete anyway. A good collector is always looking for something he doesn't have, even things that are irrelevant for other people.
    This reminds me of Father Ted.   Dougal: Ted, could you pass me my record collection? Ted: Okay, here it is. *Passes him a single record.* Oh, and Dougal, you need more than one record for a collection. What you have is a record.