Lars Ulrich on New Metallica Song: 'It's Representative of Our Creative Headspace Right Now'

"Who knows what's going to happen with this stuff," the drummer adds about track's future.

Ultimate Guitar

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich discussed the band's recently premiered song "The Lords of Summer," dubbing it the best representation of where the four-piece is at in creative terms.

Chatting with Rolling Stone, Lars also stressed that the track is very much subjective to change in the future.

"We promised our fans we'd play a new song and we've been writing and creating away and we're going to throw something at them on Sunday," the drummer said. "We have something lined up that is fairly representative of where our creative headspace is at right now. It's one of those things that's like, 'Here, we're writing and we're creating.'"

Focusing on the song's future, Ulrich added, "We did the same thing when we went out and played a bunch of dates in 2006. We were writing and played two different new songs over the course of that summer, and none of them made the record ["Death Magnetic"]. One was called 'New Song 1' - going out on a creative limb, here - and the other was called 'New Song 2.' That's how deep we went.

"There was a couple of pieces in 'New Song 1,' some of the middle bit ended up in 'All Nightmare Long,' and the intro bit ended up in 'The End of the Line.' That's how we work; stuff just gets changed around, moved over and this goes over there and the rest of that gets sacked and that ends up in the intro in song five.

"So who knows what's going to happen with this stuff," the drummer concluded. "But we are off and running and have been creating away in the studio and now we're going to go out and play and sweat and share and we've got some new music that we want to throw everybody's way. And maybe by the time we get to Europe, there will be a different song or different thing or different arrangement. Who knows? We'll sort of take it one step at a time."

During a separate interview, Metallica discussed the impact of Deep Purple on their music. Lars seemed to stand out in terms of praises towards the rock icons, dubbing the band "pioneers" and noting that "all the stuff we do traces back to Deep Purple." Guitarist Kirk Hammett added that he wrote the "Enter Sandman" riff in an attempt to create a riff equally powerful, catchy and effective as "Smoke on the Water." Check out the full chat below, as well as the new song.

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60 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Crazy Redd
    They should stop explaining what you're doing and just do it. It is like they have to justify everything they do.
    I think you don't realise that if they always explain what they do, it's because there's always a journalist who asks them about it
    You can probably blame all the people that gave em shit throughout the years. They're like, "Look, this is what we're doing now"
    that middle section sounds straight out of and justice for all.. hyped now! (but then wah dam)
    I am rather excited for this new album now. Also, considering all the live videos lately, the tones on here were so much better, imo.
    I think this new song seems to have re-energized Lars and James, they seem much more enthusiastic than usual, can't say the same about Kirk though...
    Kirk has just got done running his own festival and jamming with Exodus, how much more energized do you think he can get?
    Honestly this song was alright. Here's to hoping the album will have a lot more to offer.
    Sounds alright, but uhh, who are these "Lords of Summer"? Is this some kind of frat boy song? I think it's a shame they've been on a mission to re create their 80s sound, no wonder progress has been so slow. I really like the direction they started taking in the 90s, the handle on melody was much appreciated. EDIT: Watch as I undoubtedly get slammed by scores of thrash fans.
    Much agreed. "Metallica", Load, Reload, & even St.Anger were very experimental for the band. It helped that Bob Rock wanted the band to explore too. Which eventually forced a meltdown. Sadly.
    What's a frat boy?
    To my understanding a frat boy is a high school sports enthusiast cum douchebag who gets drunk a lot. "Lords of Summer" just gives me an image of a bunch of jocks hanging out in the South American countryside drinking beers and generally douching about. I imagine google has a more accurate definition of a frat boy but that's my interpretation.
    Let's just hope they don't chop this song up and stretch it out into 4 other songs. From Death Magnetic I think played Cyanide first live... if this song is the next album's 'Cyanide' in terms of how good it is to the rest of the album, then this album might arguably be one of their best 3-4.
    That was bad and you should feel bad.
    bad is my middle name
    No, motor is your middle name, bad is your first name. Bad is my middle name.
    The song was fine, but Lars was not... he really has to be humble and take some lessons with Danny Carey!
    Wouldn't surprise me if Danny Carey was influenced by Ulrich in some capacity. Heard Battery?
    i would be very happy with that metallica track the way it is, recorded properly.
    Always baffled by the wah comments. It's not like you just put your foot on the pedal and suddenly the guitar solo comes out automatically. A shitty guitar solo still sounds shitty with wah and a good one still sounds good o.o
    I think (for me anyway) it's more the way he uses his wah. It seems like he just taps the tempo out on the wah, and I'm not a huge fan of that. It has it's place (in 70s porn), but it kind of bugs me in metal/rock. I think it should be used to accentuate not to just have wah in a solo. That's my personal caveat with his wah work. This is actually the first comment I've ever written about his wah work, but I can't be the only person that feels that way about his particular use of the pedal. I feel like he might as well just use an auto-wah with a tap tempo.
    You're absolutely right. I mean Kirk has written some ripping solos in the past using wah like Battery and Wherever I May Roam and yet those solos still sound great without it. I think the gripe allot of people have with him is that is he uses it to mask his uninspired solos and general sloppiness which I can agree with.
    Metallica is my favorite band.. but this song doesn't seem like a step forward, it seems like a step into the past.. I want metallica to make another groundbreaking album, not a ground treading album of the past.. We'll see what happens when the album is actually done.. but that being said.. Cool song, has some cool energy and riffs
    When Metallica tries something new, they get criticised for not sounding like their old thrash records. When they try to sound like that, they get criticised for not trying something new...
    I've never criticised them for not trying to make something new, I'm a firm believer that they made better more melodic music in the 90s than in the 80s. Sure their music was more complex back in the 80s but complexity isn't everything. It also just seems as though they're trying to please a majority of their fan base and force the 80s feel. It just isn't working for me - they should just progress musically and ultimately make music for themselves. THIS doesn't seem as though they're doing it for themselves.
    That's not me at all. I actually really liked their musical experimentation on Lulu.. Even though as a whole is wasn't great but there was some really interesting vibes and sounds on the record that i found very appealing. I never wanted them to have their old thrash sound. They have so much more to offer music now, they already accomplished that
    I know, and I pretty much agree with you. I wasn't talking about you in particular, just a sizable part of Metallica's "fanbase".
    Have you heard what Metal has done in their absence? Being ground-breaking as a bunch of 50 year olds in a Thrash band is hard when bands like Between the Buried and Me, Blotted Science, Gorguts, Vektor, Mastodon, and the like all exist.
    They tried this; it's called Load/Reload/St. Anger. Death Magnetic seemed more or less like a middle-ground, so I suppose this upcoming record (if this song's sound is any indication) could possibly be another step in the direction toward their old sound.
    Second Rate
    So they need to take lessons to learn to be another boring, mid tempo, "groove metal" band? That genre hit its high water mark 22 years ago when Exhorder released "The Law" and Pantera put out "Vulgar Display of Power." Since then, it's just one copy cat band after another. As Metallica goes. If you're legitimately a metal fan, why do you even care what they do at this point? The metal genre moved past them a long, long time ago. The genre is much bigger than just Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. Do some exploring one day. Metal fans still obsessing over the fact that Metallica don't play metal anymore are, as far as I'm concerned, every bit the poseurs that they accuse metallica of being.
    I swear since Y2K or so the vocals and drums took a dive and never recovered. Kirk sounds like he's the only one trying, the solo is actually really cool but the rest of the song is a mess.
    I have to disagree with you on this. I think Kirk has been the weakest part of Metallica since the Black album. His lead riff almost kills the break down in the new song and his solos have become so predictable.
    really? James and kirk are the only people capable of playing with lars's unpredictable out of time playing. seriously, try playing along to creeping death intro live and get it perfectly in time, its near impossible. Yet James and kirk do it flawlessly every show.
    Don't get me wrong, Kirk is brilliant live and he and James are solid together. I just think his writing has taken a nose dive since the Black album. I just don't get that excited about hearing his solos as I used to.
    now if we could just get Kirk to get rid of that damn wah pedal...every ****in solo for crying out loud
    No way, the vocals took a dive since Y2K but occasionally came back until 2013 or so when James found a great middle ground between his old growl and his new clean vocal style without hurting his throat. Lars stopped practising in the 90s but started again in mid-2010. I saw them in 2010 (Nov 21st, Melbourne) and in 2013 (Soundwave Melbourne) and the difference was amazing, James' vocals were great and Lars didn't feel like he was struggling to keep up. Kirk had a bunch of small screw ups (Although I'd say that his playing is still fairly good even if his ideas aren't that original now) and Rob was pretty good although we didn't get Orion or anything but Bellz to really give him a test. I'd personally say James' current vocals are as good as his Black Album tour ones.
    As someone that has been let down by Metallica for a long time (although Magnetic was decent), I will have to admit that I am actually, relatively interested in the new album..
    I really loved the song until the bridge and interlude breakdowns - I just feel like it's some of the DM awkwardness creeping back in. Otherwise, I like this song more than anything on DM.
    As long as they keep in the riff at 00:50 I'm all for change. Not that this wasn't great, but it will be fun to see the song evolve into something definitive.
    That and the verse riff is crazy! I like the verse vocals, but hopefully they change them. I haven't heard them clear enough, but they sound fairly generic.
    Some decent moments. Getting back on the horse. Haven't cared for james' vocals since Black. Same old Heya-ha-ha stuff. All this talk about lessons and that guy still sounds like that weird uncle. The drunk piraty scary one. Doesn't count as singing to me. Love their first few albums like everyone. I'll check the new album out when released. Magnetic lost rotation in like a week. I tried, I did. They tried , they did.