Friday Fun: InteREview With Lars Ulrich

Welcome back to another installment of Ultimate-Guitar's "inteREview", where we (don't actually) sit down with popular artists for a collaborative reviewing process. This week we're (not) with Lars Ulrich.

Ultimate Guitar

Welcome back to another installment of Ultimate-Guitar's inteREview, where we (don't actually) sit down with popular artists for a collaborative reviewing process. This week we're (not) with Lars Ulrich, drummer for the legendary Metallica, to talk about their 2008 release, Death Magnetic, and to discuss the band's new album currently in the works.

Ultimate-Guitar: Thanks so much for taking the time from your hectic schedule to chat with us, Lars.

Lars Ulrich: Sure.

UG: I thought we'd start off with a little walkthrough of your most recent, excellent album, "Death Magnetic". In a general sense, how would you describe your drumming on that record?

Lars: Well, technically, our last album was "Lulu".

UG: Yes. Of course. But just in terms of excellent Metallica... I mean, in terms of excellent Metallica albums... your most recent album of strictly Metallica songs was "Death Magnetic". Sorry for the confusion. But how would you describe your drumming on that record?

Lars: Chugging. Propulsive. Driving. Dynamic. Energetic. Punchy. Aggressive. And... pounding.

UG: Don't most of those words mean the same thing?

Lars: I guess that depends on your definition of what same means. To some people, walking into Starbucks every morning and ordering a grande caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso might be too much of the same. To me, it's just another opportunity to sign something for the baristas.

UG: Your... credit card receipt?

Lars: No man, like an autograph. Although I honestly wouldn't blame them for photocopying my receipt just to have it as a keepsake. Could you imagine telling your friends that you steamed a cup of milk for the drummer from Metallica?

UG: I don't think I could. Now, many considered Death Magnetic to be a return to form for Metallica, bringing some of that heavy metal thunder back into your songs that seemed...

Lars: Let me stop you right there before you get into this same bullsh-t, cookie cutter storyline about my band that every journalist has been trying to spread for the last two decades. Listen, we've never taken the metal out of Metallica. Ya know? Our realms have always circled around the metal genre, it's just that we don't always feel comfortable scooping it up with both hands and serving it on the same tray over and over. Sometimes you don't just want a black coffee, you know? Sometimes you want a shot of blues in it. Or maybe a light, jazz foam on top. Or a little sprinkle of cinnamon.

UG: I'm sorry, you said cinnamon? Is that a metaphor for something else?

Lars: Oh, no. I just... I missed my morning Starbucks and can't stop thinking about it.

UG: Then let's keep this chugging along. Speaking of similarities, one song I want to discuss from "Death Magnetic" in particular is Unforgiven III. The title alone is a slightly damning suggestion that Metallica has begun repeating itself so much that it's now in its third iteration of the same song. Is there anything more to that?

Lars: Man, the way I see it, Unforgiven is sort of a signpost in the Metallica music catalog. When you see that song on the back of the CD, you know you're in for something special. Besides, I don't buy into that whole theory of 'well this is a sequel to this other thing, so it can't be first-class.' People see that term and they think it has to be a million times worse than that original thing, but look at the f--king Godfather! The second one's even better!

UG: So would you then equate Unforgiven III to The Godfather III?

Lars: I think I'd compare it more to the third "Lord Of The Rings" movie, "The Return Of The King".

UG: So the Unforgiven song was always set up to be part of series of songs?

Lars: No man, because there's so much more fire in that song than in the first two! Unforgiven III is all about fire and brimstone and just spewing flames at everyone who said that these dragons were all smoked out.

UG: And the members of Metallica are the dragons?

Lars: Metallica are the dragons.

UG: Ok. Metallica are the dragons. Well, how did the fire-breathers come upon the decision to include what might be one of the band's most downbeat tracks ever produced, The Day That Never Comes?

Lars: Ya know, it's funny that you call that song downbeat, because to me, that song is the band playing at its most epic. The Day That Never Comes is what happens when you put the best parts of One, Fade To Black, and Until It Sleeps into a cosmic blender, hit f--king frappe, add some hazelnut, a stick of ginger biscotti, and then slowly sip on it until your brain runs awash with this beautiful mixture of mayhem.

And caffeine.

UG: Do you want me to send someone out for a coffee? We could certainly arrange...

Lars: No man, I'm just talking metaphors here.

UG: Ah. Gotcha. How about we propel ourselves forward in time just a bit and discuss what's happening with the new album you're working on.

Lars: Well, to be clear, we're not technically working on it yet. It's more like we're working through some concepts, putting together a philosophy for the record.

UG: And what is the philosophy for this record?

Lars: It's kind of a philosophy of not having a philosophy, ya know? Just sort of going wherever the road takes us, so long as that road ultimately ends with about an hour's worth of material that makes you want to grab a bull by the balls and swing it over your head. But, I mean, I'm not a fortune teller, ya know? So I'm not really sure of everything in store for this album.

UG: You're not sure what to expect from the recording process?

Lars: Oh I know exactly what to expect, bro, but that doesn't mean it will meet those expectations. I expected "St. Anger" to blow people away and... yeah, that happened to something like 90 percent of people... but it didn't completely take over the world, either.

UG: Mm. This might sound like I'm getting off track, but do you mind my asking if you've ever had any delusional thoughts?

Lars: You're not the first person to ask me that. But no, I don't get into that kind of headspace. I have thoughts of grandeur, maybe, but they're not delusional. I've been told I'm one of the most rational human beings my sons have ever met.

For example, we've got this 3D concert documentary in the works right now and as much as I'd like to say that it's going to completely change the music bio genre, all I can be absolutely certain of is that it will cement Metallica as a visionary band. We're going to be the first rock band to put out a 3D concert experience, that's a certainty, but everything else is a coin toss into the Grand Canyon.

UG: Actually, U2 put out a 3D concert film in 2008.

Lars: Right. But did it have that insane, Metallica-level of epicness? Did it make you want to leap out of your seat and pummel somebody or did you get done watching it and say, Ok, well that was a movie. Let me put it this way: maybe their movie had three dimensions, but it certainly didn't have that extra something, that fourth dimension that only Metallica can pull off.

UG: Not to be repetitive, but just to be clear: you've never had any delusional thoughts?

Lars: Man, I already answered that. Let's move this thing forward.

UG: Getting back to the new record, do you know what kind of sound you want from it? Will it be a continuation of "Death Magnetic"? Or will it be something else entirely?

Lars: We're going for that old school Metallica sound, for sure.

UG: So this new one will also have a little more of a "Ride The Lightning" feel?

Lars: Better! We're talking "ReLoad" era thrash!

UG: So when you say old school Metallica, you mean, like, post-grad Metallica...

Lars: I mean post-world Metallica. Trust me, you haven't heard anything like what this new thing's gonna be. Granted, we haven't started the recording process yet or put together any demos or hunkered down to build any riffs, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you don't like this new Metallica album, you were never a Metallica fan to begin with.

UG: That's quite a statement. An oddly defiant statement, but...

Lars: Well, some people can't hang with Metallica from album to album. We lose a few fans every time we put out a new album because they're creatures of habit and they don't like any detours on their path of musical fulfillment. It's almost like they have AD...

Do you mind if I cut this a little short to go get a cappuccino? I'm just thinking about those autographs I haven't signed yet. Thanks, I knew you'd understand.

[Barely stands before leaving]

UG: Why do people always leave these interviews before they're finished? Someone find me a musician who can sit still for more than ten minutes!

Check out more inteREviews by shakyjake316 in Columns.

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

    In the time it took him to give that interview, I just stole all their albums and downloaded a car.
    Not enough "Um"s.
    Don't forget the hand gestures. *waves hand in the air, as if grasping for something* um... um, uh...
    "I reeely thenk MetAllicah ..ummm, helped uhm..*waves hands*..helped cheange the leandscape of what wus .. uhhm.. hard rock and *waves hands* heavy meuusic at the time.... FUUCCK! LULU WAS AWESOME!" -Average Lars Ulrich interview. ..Love ya Lars.
    Ha ha. I didn't want the "ums" to take up all the space. It could've been a dangerous 3 to 1 ratio of ums to actual words...
    The jazz Man
    Uh, so what was the point here??
    Yeah seriously what the hell is this supposed be and why am I reading it? If it was at all funny or clever it'd be one thing, but.....
    I absolutely loved this, but isn't this a little dangerous for front page news, UG. People might actually think that this was a real interv... oh, too late.
    UG: Yes. Of course. But just in terms of excellent Metallica... I mean, in terms of excellent Metallica albums... your most recent album of strictly Metallica songs was "Death Magnetic". Sorry for the confusion. But how would you describe your drumming on that record? Lars: Chugging. Propulsive. Driving. Dynamic. Energetic. Punchy. Aggressive. And... pounding.
    You do realize this was a spoof?
    ill still stand by my comment that lars sucks at drums. because he does
    I FUCKING LOVE Metallica, but yeah, Lars's been holding them back since the beginning. Then again, Hammet's solos aren't the cream of the crop either.
    Wow you UG was being a dick to Lars the whole time. I'm surprised he didn't end it sooner. Entertaining though
    Yeah I know right. You don't talk to any one that way. I expected Lars would freak out but I guess he did some St. Anger Management.
    Oh god I hope all these comments aren't serious.... As for me, I laughed a few times while reading it. Well done.
    For every one of you that thought that this was a real interview....PLEASE go dunk your heads in a bucket of water and forget to surface. Disgraceful.
    I thought this was real at first and was like whoa that's pretty bold, then realized it was fake and felt so f***ing stupid
    -Reads interview- -After a few lines, zooms directly down to comment section to laugh at people who mistake this for real-
    These just aren't funny and UG needs to give up their failed attempts at humor. Speaking of failed attempts at humor, I'm surprised they didn't take more jibes at Lulu. Are they finally starting to give up on that dead horse?
    The last one wasn't stupid enough? We really had to get an encore?
    So it's a hypothetical joke interview? Yeah, not funny.
    Sorry you weren't into it. This is pretty much what these inteREview articles will be, so you may want to skip over them in the future. Thanks for reading, anyways!
    I think it would be pretty funny if Metallica called their next album St. Anger part 2, but it was actually decent like Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice For All.
    I said it on the last one of these, and I'll say it again; I really don't see any humorous or redeeming features in a spoof interview.
    That's a bummer. I think they're a great way to give a humorous critique of someone's work. Keep in mind, this is all in fun. Great fun to write and hopefully a little fun to read. That's all.
    Reload better than Ride the Lightning? What are you high Lars? We all know the best album by Metallica is St. Anger. We want a St. Anger Part 2!
    Its almost like they have AD... Do you mind if I cut this a little short to go get a cappuccino? Im just thinking about those autographs I havent signed yet. Thanks, I knew youd understand. This is absolutely genius.
    As someone who finds Metallica annoying. I find this funny. (before I get hate thrown my way I do massively respect Metallica and all they have done) just find them annoying. Because this could easily be real.
    Certain quotes were indeed based on real responses Lars has given in actual interviews. So you're spot on.
    Stupid, but I had a couple good chuckles myself. "I've been told I'm one of the most rational human beings my sons have ever met." what? haha
    Couldn't Lars technically turn around and pursue legal action against UG for using his likeness without permission I mean its all funny and stuff but I mean Lars is the king of suing people for stupid shit!
    this is whats known as "fan fiction" "fan" Real Lars Ulrich laughs at this article. I'd love to watch this hot-shot "interviewer's" stand up act. Its been a long time since I threw something at someone.
    everyone said that UG was a dick to Lars but I personally think that there's really something wrong with that guy. He plays in the band, thinks its the best in the world and visionary and all that bullshit... I think some self-criticism would be good for him so maybe they'd record slightly better albums than "Lulu"...
    I know this is a fan fiction thing or some bullshit like that, but like some of the other people on this site who can see how douchy lars really is, I find this interview to be about spot on if UG were to really interview the guy haha. I am a metallica fan and always will be, and i think kirk, james, and the multiple bassists, and hell even dave mustaine are all great people and amazing musicians.....but lars is just kinda a tool, and not in the awesome way that the band tool is, like he is full of himself and gets worked up over himself and shit.....I guess what i'm trying to say is good job with the interview, it was a real laugh, but if you ever do an interview with any of the musicians in metallica, pick anyone but lars cause he has no idea about anything outside of the realm of himself xp and Personally I like the actual "old school" which (in my opinion) is anything before the black album. and that concludes my rant haha
    Ten bucks says the interviewer reads Rolling Stone magazine. He seemed to be a U2 Fanboy. I always rip on Lars but he's got new respect from me for sticking it out that long with that stupid interviewer.
    Wasn't real. Facepalm.
    facepalm? What are you like 11? Sorry I didn't have time to study this entire interview, I was busy getting paid to play my guitar
    You didn't have to study the entire interview. It was clarified in the first paragraph
    Whatever helps you sleep at night dude
    No problem brotha. Who do you play for by the way? What's your average pay before taxes?
    I can't believe I missed that at the start haha. Would have been funny if there really was an interview like that. And I play for a few different artists and with a few different people. Every day I wake up and my entire day is devoted to playing guitar so I am happy cause I don't have to do anything else and I get to travel and meet other cool musicians. Great way to learn...Hope the day is going well.
    That's cool man. Glad you're living the dream. Keep it up.
    Thanks man. Hope you're doing well too. I'm not famous or anything but getting to play guitar for my bread is pretty sweet. It has its challenges but like probably most people here I just love playing guitar and practicing and meeting other musicians.
    That's a good attitude. I'm doing pretty well myself, nothing too big yet. Been called the best drummer at my school. I guess thats pretty humbling. Only played with a couple people. He'll yeah, if you love practice you'll be better off.
    That's awesome man. Keep it up Just take every gig available, get your face out there. And it's always cool to meet another Maiden fan Maiden rule man.
    F*ck yeah. Maiden's the best. Thanks for the good conversation bro.
    hey no worries man. Seriously man, keep drumming and you can travel the world. I didn't start music until I was 16-17, but I did practice and just played anywhere and everywhere and in so many gigs where I was in way over my head. You'll force yourself to step up and you will. I'm off to bed...7am and I have 2 shows tomorrow. Play some maiden for me dude!
    Im 17 right now, thanks for the extra hope. It's certainly a dream of mine, and sure thing bro. Nicko will be played very soon haha.
    Are you 2 just trolling each other? Possibly the most cringeworthy conversation I've ever read...
    Job well done then.
    hahahahahahahahaha that was absolutely very gay
    Yeah that was gay. Really really gay.
    I was about to reach for the popcorn. And then it turned into something weird. Still a better love story than twilight
    Haters gonna hate. I get paid to travel the world and play my guitar. I've bought two brand new cars off the lot and all from playing guitar...have fun with your day jobs and school, maybe you should turn off the computer and practice once in a while..