Lars Ulrich: Why Metallica Is Never Going to Stop Making Albums

Never as in "make records 'til we fall over."

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Lars Ulrich: Why Metallica Is Never Going to Stop Making Albums
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Lars Ulrich was asked by Rolling Stone about more and more classic rock and metal acts turning their backs to album format because of poor sales, to which he replied (transcribed by UG):

"When you've been in the game this long, we're not down there to remember how 'Master of Puppets' goes, we're down there to get the blood flowing and get the limbs and the joints and all that stuff kind of lubed up.

"I can tell you, and I know 'cause I've been there every moment - we're busier and more enveloped in Metallica than we've ever been. Metallica is more of a full-time thing than it's ever been.

"Because back in the day, we used to have these different dynamics and patterns - we write a record, we record a record, we tour the record, then we disappear for a year.

"We don't disappear anymore, we're always [doing something] - festivals, Record Store Day, reissues... You got one foot in the future and one foot in the past, there's always this kind of push and pull between wanting to run amok in the future and discover new paths and being respectful to your past.

"We spent a better part of the first 25-30 years turning our backs on our past 'cause we were so fearful of repetition.

"And then, one of the most significant things was when Rick [Rubin] said, 'It's OK. You can be happy and proud about your past, embrace your past for inspiration.'"

Metallica drummer concluded: "I hope we keep making records 'til we fall over. That's what inspires us and gives us a sense of relevance - still being in the game. That's important for us.

"I respect if our peers feel different, but for us, writing songs, that feeling that we've still got something to say is important part of just feeling vital and confident, feeling good about yourself."

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54 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Weybl Himself
    "...that feeling that we've still got something to say..." Don't think there's any risk of Lars ever not having something to say.
    sleopold11
    I just hope they know when it's time to quit. I look at a band like AC/DC and I think it's really sad that some of the band members had to leave due to health concerns. Being a big fan of Metallica, I don't want to see the band with some guy replacing James, Kirk, Lars, or Rob. There's been a lot of joking on UG about how Lars isn't the best drummer or how Kirk loves his wah pedal, but each one of those guys contributes something to the sound of the band that works really well.
    nathandavis87
    I agree. Although I am disappointed in Kirk on the latest album but I still respect the heck out of him.
    myap0calypse91
    Really? I thought his solos fit the songs very well. It's more about "feel" than anything. 
    nathandavis87
    Well my biggest problem is how lazy he went about everything. Remember he admitted that he just winged it and some of the solos show. I just think they could have been better if he gave them more attention. I appreciate that he tried something different but the whole idea of waiting for the studio does not work from​ what I have seen. Temper Temper by BFMV was the same way they just went and recorded the album and it is by far their worse album.
    ScottStewart1
    To be fair the second Black Sabbath record was done that way and it's the most well known one still.
    sleopold11
    The song Paranoid was written on the spot because they needed an extra song for the album. It's a great song!
    nathandavis87
    Wow really? Paranoid is my favorite BS song. Just listened to a Megadeth cover in the shower at the gym.
    PRSguitars87
    In the shower at the gym? First of all... why do we need that information... second who showers at the gym other than 60 year old dudes.. and third, how the fuck do you listen to music in the shower? Waterproof headphones? I mean if you just had your phone sitting there (a waterproof one I assume) youd barely be able to hear the music over the noise of the shower. This comment is super weird
    nathandavis87
    Wow. Haha. Grow up kid. 1. It relates because I just listed to the song while in the shower at the gym. He mentioned it and it was a coincidence I just heard it. Yeah the gym shower part was not needed but it does not matter.I basically listed a time/location in reference to the coincidence. 2. I don't like working out in the morning and smelling like a wet dogs butt all day. I get you may never sweat at the gym but I work out hard and work up a sweat. Maybe you should try it some time tough guy. 3.Phones have speakers and mine get loud. I can set it down on my gym bag and it has more than enough power for me to listen to it. Your comment is the one that is "super weird." You were never part of the conversation and commented on something that was entirely unrelated just to be a dick. Grow up. You are just a lonely little troll that no one likes. Just another pathetic keyboard warrior. F off.
    tomaxandxamot
    Im pretty sure I read the story here on UG not too long ago.  I didnt mention that but hey 
    tomaxandxamot
    Its called "Paranoid" because the band was paranoid it sounded too much like Zep's "Communication Breakdown"  True story 
    deadmanwalkin00
    Maybe they will work their kids into the line up and have a next gen Metallica in 20 years.
    nathandavis87
    Rob's son can already play bass pretty well apparently. So it is possible. Didn't the Misfits do something similar?
    deadmanwalkin00
    I think it be pretty cool to see them form a band and play together one day and follow their father's footsteps. I think Lars was teach his son the drums and Rob's kid is already started off on a good foot. I don't care who you are, playing bass for Korn at 12 is pretty amazing and would be a once in a life time opportunity for most kids.
    j.umpleby
    Didn't Robert Trujillo replace Jason Newsted, who replaced Cliff Burton? (May he rest in peace.) Also, didn't Kirk Hammett replace Dave Mustane?
    kramer242
    I'd love to see a newsted return, though Rob is excellent. Kirk has been there so long he may as well be an original and is pretty much a staple mark
    metalmaarten
    Hello 'jomatami', could you please try to end every quote you start with ", end with a "? I like the way you write articles, though, with paragraphs, even!
    WhaNeedForAName
    If a quote spans multiple paragraphs, you don't end the paragraph in " unless it is the end of the quote. The article is correct.
    theman6
    Then why start every paragraph with " again? Maybe I'm ignorant in this matter since I'm not a native english speaker, but I haven't seen this much and it feels really weird
    Scarface88
    In doing so you show that you haven't just forgotten to punctuate, and it's still part of the same quotation.
    metalmaarten
    Ok, thanks for your reply! I didn't know this is common for English, it looks kind of weird in my optic, though.
    Wisthler
    Yeah try to make up your minds quicker otherwise the "Till we fall over" part will beat you sooner than you think.
    fafa1234
    Metallica was in their "playing prime" in the '80s and '90s.  I wish they would have waited until they were older to record less technical albums like TBA, Load and Reload, and spent the '90s making thrashier albums. I'm not knocking those albums, but that time frame could have given birth to some amazing stuff from them.
    ScottStewart1
    If they continued to make thrash albums in the 90s it wouldn't have sold well at all. They did a great job capitalising on the resurgence/nostalgia of thrash that started picking up around 06/07 and running with it.
    Humbug808
    They probably would have just kept their title as the rulers of american heavy/fast music, which Pantera took in the 90s. I think they would be on the same tier as Iron Maiden right now, playing arenas still, but not overly relevant in the mainstream view (No opening american football stadiums, music in car commercials, movie appearances ect ect). Because of their success with getting into the mainstream, they can sell out football stadiums (atleast here in the U.S). I know Maiden has a bigger following in South America, but the biggest Heavy Metal band in the world has to go to Metallica because of TBA's success. 
    fafa1234
    I disagree - if it was the same quality of their previous albums, it would have sold quite well.  although probably not as good as TBA.
    68rouge
    because they have bills just like us. Its a job
    ScottStewart1
    I'm pretty sure they have enough money to where even their great grandkids won't have to work a day in their lives.
    Humbug808
    I really wonder if thats true, obviously they're loaded and well off but can all of that money really stick around 2 and half generations? I think that type of multi-generation inheritance implies to families like Warren Buffet's or Bill Gate's, like when Gene Simmons compared his net worth to Buffet's. Unless they got great financial management and investments that keep the money coming, once the guys are done playing, as far as we know the only sources of income left are album sales and merch. We know album sales don't generate much these days, and I mean I'm sure people will still buy merch down the road just like Johnny Cash and Elvis merch are still bought, but I don't think it will be the massive empire we suspect.  But then again, maybe their kids are preparing to follow in the families foot steps. James' daughter and Robs' son are already performing live, who knows?  Just my opinion on it. 
    kramer242
    Agreed..... Some odd millions is not really that much amongst a multi person family of not invested properly.... Lol at all the musicians out there who had it all but now are broke
    PRSguitars87
    You think only the two richest men in the world can afford to financially secure the futures of the next few generations?
    Humbug808
    No of course not, just echoing Simmons' quote on whether a super successful musician is rich compared to guys like them. Yes, they're really rich and so will there kids be, but to say that their grand kids and future generations will live like kings and rely on the bands legacy is kind of a stretch. But of course it isn't just Buffet and Gates who can sustain their families generations, those were just the first names to pop into my mind and I said 'like' them. 
    Scarface88
    I thought it was pretty clear that he just used those two as examples (he said "families like Warren Buffet's and Bill Gate's [sic]". Strange that the majority of your comments are quite scathing in this way.
    joplambrix
    Thing I'm having trouble with is how long it takes in between record. Not judging perse, but after such a long time you expect something mind-blowing. Hardwired was awesome imo, but it wasn't 8 years of waiting worth it. I do hope the next one won't take that long.
    ScottStewart1
    They only spent like 2 years actually making the album, from that perspective Hardwired is fantastic. But yeah, it should've been a bigger priority than Antarctica, the imax movie, Orion festival, Lou Reed collaboration, ect.
    nathandavis87
    To be fair that other stuff is related to the band/music. Although I agree some of it like Antarctica could have been cut out.
    Anjohl
    Yet they keep playing the same played out, boring songs on tour. It'd be SO nice if they had a setlist that didn't have any of THESE: Sandman, Sad But True, Creeping Death, Nothing Else Matters. And had at least half of THESE: Blitzkrieg, Trapped Under Ice, Dyer's Eve, Frayed Ends of Sanity, Damage Inc, And Justice for All.
    mobidguitar
    Great to hear they're not getting tired of the last decade of... just simply not being a band. Maybe its just the impression they give, but seems like its just a day job, not so much a passion anymore.
    ScottStewart1
    I disagree. I feel the opposite, where Metallica used to be a job and now it's mostly a hobby. They don't record nearly as much and they're not as afraid to do random things like play Glastonbury or little record store day gigs instead of continuously playing stadiums to rake in the most money.
    nathandavis87
    They already have enough money. They mainly do it for the fun and fans from what I can tell. I agree.
    jschexna
      Kirk will be doing wah solos in E minor until he runs out of ideas.....  Oh wait , that was 6 albums ago.....