Metallica's Ulrich: What I Think About Holograms of Dead Musicians

"What is music? What's a concert?"

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Metallica's Ulrich: What I Think About Holograms of Dead Musicians

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was asked by 92Y for his thoughts on the latest trend of holograms of late music legends such as Michael Jackson, Tupac and Dio, to which he replied (via Blabbermouth):

"The conversation in the Bay Area, generally, is primarily about - when people look into the future, it's about artificial intelligence, and it's about how you adapt AI into everything that we know on a daily basis.

"And so when you start looking at the possibilities of how that could play into music, obviously there's been a few go-arounds with the holograms - there's a few artists that are looking at sending artists on the road in hologram form.

"We were in Copenhagen a couple, three months ago, and we were doing rehearsals for the European tour.

"We had this whole new visual show thing happening. And what was going on was, we are in an arena and they're showing some of the visuals and the dynamics and the aesthetics and all the hoopla to us, and we're sitting up in row 33 up there, looking at the whole thing.

"And they've got a live show of us somewhere on the summer tour blasting out over the P.A., the full rig is up, there's a giant P.A., giant stage and a giant light show.

"And I'm sitting up there and the whole thing is happening - 120-dB loud music, all the lights, the video screens, everything is going on... except there are no musicians on stage. And I'm sitting there going, 'There's gotta be a version of this somewhere in our future.'"

The drummer added:

"As loopy as that sounds, and as kind of silly as I'm exaggerating for effect - what is a concert?

"What is music? What's a concert? To me, it's about connecting people, and it's about sharing an experience together. And what we try to do, when we play gigs, is to erase the wall between the audience and the band.

"It's basically about doing away with that division between an audience and artist. And so I'm sitting there going, 'Maybe one day.'

"If the primary objective of a concert is to bring people together and share an experience, why do you need Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield there? Or Kirk Hammett or Robert Trujillo?

"If you've got the music, you've got the equipment, you've got the lights, you've got the video, there's gotta be some version of that in there by the time all the Elon Musks and all the Marc Benioffs and the rest of 'em have figured out where artificial intelligence plays into all this."

Directly asked if he would like to be a hologram a hundred years from now, Lars replied:

"Listen, I don't know about anybody else in here, but when it's done, it's done.

"If there was a way for it to work out... if it can be done in some way where it's cool and it's not just some fucking weird cash-in or whatever, but if it there was a way to do it in a meaningful way...

"Because at the end of the day - and I am actually really serious about this — to me, the further I get into this endeavor, music and Metallica... People go, 'What's it like to be in Metallica?' It's, like, we're all in Metallica.

"Metallica is something that exists in the ether. Lars Urich doesn't own Metallica, James Hetfield doesn't own Metallica, Metallica doesn't own Metallica - it's something that we all share. And it's something that we all used to connect.

"I believe the basic human need is to connect to other human beings - that's what we all strive for in any way possible.

"So if there's a way that that could be... a hundred years from now, 50 years from now, and I'm a hologram, fine with me. It's fine with me."

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i havent fapped for 3 days now 
    Metallica doesn't own Metallica - it's something that we all share.
    YOU get a Metallica! YOU get a Metallica! Everybody gets a Metallica!
    But Lars, you own a mansion with your share of Metallica. If I own at least a part of Metallica, then I want to get paid.
    I honestly thought this whole article would be about making a hologram of Cliff for some reason. I figured he would have found a way to bring the idea up.
    Personally, I don't really care for the idea of holograms. It seems a bit silly to me, going out to a concert just to watch a music video. Yes, you'll be surrounded by others watching that same music video, but without the real time in the presence of the artists and the potential for spur of the moment words and mistakes, it decreases the appeal for me. But hey, to each their own. I guess in the future when these artists are gone and people want to congregate and experience something akin to a performance, then holograms will be the way to go. All in all, I guess I'll have to agree with what Lars said: Music is for everyone. If holograms make people feel closer to the artists, makes them feel more connected, then who am I to argue against it. People should feel free to experience music in whatever form or fashion they like. As long as it isn't hurting anybody, I think we can all agree that it's alright.
    We might not care about holograms right now, but our kids and grand kids most likely will. Technology will speak even more to them. To catch a chance at something they never experienced will have a different appeal. Off subject, but I wouldn't mind being a hologram as a young man now and let my great grand kids experience my voice and the way I move. Holograms might go in that way when technology and people allow it too.
    I have to strongly disagree with Lars on this. Speaking for myself, one of the main reasons why I go to a concert is to see the actual artist live, in person. That’s probably the biggest highlight for me. Seeing the people I admire in person. No matter how far or close I am to them. Just to be able to be there with them is something amazing in itself.
    this is such a bad idea. I don't like the Hologram thing at all. we must never ever ever give up on the natural world in exchange for the digital one. In case you couldn't tell, it's ruining us. largest great but this is a horrible idea the only idea I could ever honestly say of Lars's that was a horrible one. when we lose the natural world in exchange for the digital one that will be it for Humanity that'll be it for the Earth I'll be at for animals and plants we really need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves
    But we're already in a digital world. It's right here, right now. How else did these words get here? Things change, people change, times change. But this isn't necessarily bad. Having holograms won't put an end to 100% unplugged shows. It's just another option for your average concert-goer. We live in a world where we can see a holographic band (like sci-fi), a group using not one ounce of electricity, or anything else in-between. There's something for literally everybody, no matter the personal taste. Personally, I want to go see a hologram in a show. I want to see what the hype is all about. I wouldn't feel right simply dismissing it without experiencing it firsthand.
    The problem I have with this is if you start making these classic bands last forever in an holographic form, newer bands will struggle to make it big, always in the shadow of the classics.  If you start bringing everybody back, Elvis, Hendrix, Bowie, The Doors, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and thousands others, everybody, including me, will want to go see everything they couldn't at the time and also because of the novelty factor. Think of the repercussions.  At the same time, it could back fire immensely and nobody would want to pay to watch holograms "perform".
    I understand what you're saying, but I respectfully disagree. See, if they made holograms for all those artists you mentioned, I can't see it detracting too much from shows performed by actual, living people. Each would have their audiences, with a number of people in each refusing to see the other side. Just look at what we have now in DJs. Theoretically, a single person could recreate the sound of an entire band with the right equipment. Despite that, you still have a great many people who would rather see a group of people playing instruments right in front of them. The only thing holographic performances will bring is an additional way to absorb live music. It won't put an end to anything we currently have.
    Yes, you're right. I think in the same way people haven't stopped watching 2D movies or going to the theater because of 3D and 4DX now, people won't stop wanting to go to live gigs.  There is indeed always an audience for everything old a new, classic or gimmicky.
    I don’t understand everyone’s problem with holograms, I like the idea, I’d snap at the chance to see queen with a Freddie Mercury hologram, or pantera with a dime hologram, I will never get the chance to see those people in person so this is the closest I can get. It worked pretty well for Tupac.
    Holy shit does this meander around. You could have literally only published the last sentence. I would never consider it a concert if there are no real musicians playing, and if they're not alive, they're not playing. It would be a cool thing to implement in bars or clubs, but not charge for specifically. The only touring implementation I can see as relevant would be for an act like the Gorillaz or Muppets. My Morning Jacket was going to tour as the Muppets around 2010, and play backstage, while the Muppets were up front. Holograms could potentially make that more feasible.
    This here. Once all the hype of the tech is over and all the technological kinks are smoothed out all bars and such should have holograms of EVERY band they play on the radio. Live music will never die though
    my first fap was actually 9/11.2001. Seriously. It was a morning wank
    I'm not exactly easy with this, because in the end, you are paying for an "experience" based upon a previous happening - part of the reason to go see a band or an artist live is to see how they have EVOLVED - well, when Ronnie James Dio is Dead, he's no longer evolving - if you put up a hologram of Kurt Cobain, he's forever 27 and stuck at that 1993 level of performance.  If in 100 years someone decides to put on a Lady Gaga show with a hologram of Lady Gaga, you're just going to see Lady Gaga in her last state of performance - that's how it works. Sentient AI or not - you can't predict how the person evolves and thusly how their performance would change post mortem. Me, why I love to see a band or artist live, is to see how their show evolves!  Let's take a really long running band - Golden Earring, started in 1961 - all the members are alive.  If I go to see Golden Earring in 2017, part of the interest is to hear how the band has evolved since the early days. If I want Radar Love or Ce Soir like it was in the 70's, I'll go put Switch or Moontan on the turntable. While this bothers holdovers - I like it - the whole point of a live performance to me is energy and playing "catch with vibes".  I like to see a grey haired veteran of rock putting on a killer show well into their "golden years".  Some of those "old guys" have more spark and fire in their performances than some of these young mopey groups. Also, these holograms kind of kill off the finality that gives these "legends" a larger than life history, which is part of the draw.  Once you take away the myth and legend that draws people, they turn into just another person.  And while on one hand that is respectful from a personal angle to the personal person - like letting go of all of Kurt Cobain's vanity fair and suicide stuff - on the other hand, the person did make the music, but there's no way to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Do Re Me" past 1994 and have it sound like how Kurt could have evolved as things could have changed drastically.  An artist living and influenced by life is far different from a hologram offering a retro experience.