METALLICA's LARS ULRICH: 'let's keep bringing heavy music to the world'
In a new interview with Japanese music critic and radio personality Masa Ito of TVK‘s “Rock City”, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke about the fact that te band continues to reach new people with its music, less than a year after the season four finale of the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” introduced a new generation of fans to METALLICA, sending its song “Master Of Puppets” to the top of the iTunes rock chart some 36 years after it was originally released.
“I realized this time around, as I’m doing interviews for two or three weeks now, I realized, and I think the feeling is kind of the same within the band, is that when we were younger, we spent a lot of time explaining to the world what we were doing and we were very, I think, keen on explaining and carving out in stone what our intentions were,” he said. “And now it feels, overall, like we’re less interested in that and almost a little hesitant or trepidatious about that.
“I’m just so happy that hard music and hard rock still has a place,” he continued. “To see so many young people connecting with music again… I can see it my kids; I can see it, in the last nine months, the ‘Stranger Things’ phenomenon of so many young kids discovering ‘Master Of Puppets’ and that being a gateway to maybe more METALLICA music or to more heavy music or heavy rock music.
“So I see that there’s still so much, all over the world, a coming of age when kids are 12, 13, 14 years old, to get into music and for us to be part of that discovery is an incredible thing.
“I guess as we get older, we do the best we can… But it feels good, certainly, to get the music out there and try the best we can,” he added. “It still feels like if our bodies and different arms and elbows and necks and hands and knees and throats and backs, or whatever, can keep it up, we hopefully still have a few good records left and a few good years. So let’s keep this going and keep bringing heavy music to the world.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ulrich talked about METALLICA‘s musical evolution, in particular as it relates to the group’s latest effort, “72 Seasons”, which came out last month. He said: “I think within METALLICA there’s always been a desire to keep exploring and to keep moving forward and to keep trying different things. I think that’s a journey that has been going on for 40 years. At different times on that journey, there’s been more rocks and stones turned over and there’s been more exploration done and more curiosity, and at other times we’ve played it close to the vest. There’s been times where we’ve been running away from the past. There’s been times where we’ve been doing the exact opposite or different of what the previous album was. So at different times over 40-plus years, that journey zigzags into different extremes, but we’ve always tried to not do anything other than what was in our hearts and our minds and our souls and the best of our instincts at that time, which is to make the best music that’s representative of the headspace and the emotions of that time. Sometimes, like I said, we may have gone too far; other times we may have not gone far enough. But we never felt an obligation to the past. We’ve been inspired by the past, but we’ve always wanted to continue on a forward path. And I think that this record is part of that, and I’m very proud of this record in that sense.”
He continued: “I can talk about this every time there’s a new record. I don’t know what my relationship with ’72 Seasons’ is gonna be in a year from now or two years from now or five years from now or 10 years from now, but I know that at this point it feels very good. I’ve had this record in my pocket for, I guess about six months now, and when I listen to it, it sounds and feels really good and I’m very proud of it and I’m very happy and looking forward to sharing it with the world in its full extent.”
During the same chat, Ulrich discussed METALLICA‘s “M72” world tour, which features two-night stops in nearly two dozen cities. Presented worldwide by Liquid Death and Blackened American Whiskey (in North America only) and promoted by Live Nation, the 46-show trek launched in Amsterdam on April 27 and will include shows all over Europe and North America through 2024. Each “No Repeat Weekend” on “M72” will feature two completely different setlists and support lineups.
Regarding the prospect of playing two different sets in every city, Lars said: “It’s definitely exciting, definitely a little crazy. But it’s fun spirited, of course, and a little overwhelming, to be honest with you.
“The concept was born out of a gentleman named Danny Wimmer who runs a series of festivals in America,” he explained. “And I guess about four years ago now, he came to us and asked us if we would play six or eight of his festivals, and we would bookend the festival. We would play Friday and Sunday, and somebody else would play Saturday. And we would play Friday and Sunday — completely different sets — and bookend the festival. That sounded interesting, unique and crazy cool, so we said yes. And we had six, seven, maybe eight of those scheduled for 2020. Then the pandemic and lockdown came, and obviously that all went away. By the time we circled into the fall of ’21, we went out and did three of those. And it was fun. We survived it. And it felt like it connected with an audience. And for us, it was an opportunity to do kind of a blank canvas experiment of just starting completely over, which is always fun and appreciated in the METALLICA camp. So when we were trying to figure out for the next record, we thought this concept of going around the world and playing two nights in every city and doing this would be fun.
“So, here we go. ‘No Repeat Weekend’. We’re not repeating any of the songs from one show to the other. It seems like a really good idea. It’s also, obviously, gonna be a big undertaking. But I think it will be fun. I think the buzz is good.
“I’m not sure these days, to be honest with you, if everybody really understands what it is we’re doing,” Lars admitted. “I’m not sure we understand what it is we’re doing. But I’ve heard myself talk about it now for a couple of weeks, and certainly everybody on our team is doing the best they can to get the message out there. It started off as one ticket for two shows, and then we let some single-day tickets be available for people that couldn’t make both shows. Obviously, both shows, two shows is a big commitment for a lot of people; I understand that. So I don’t know the idea that if people go to a show on one day, if they understand that there may not be certain toe-tapping favorites, as they may be called, that they will not hear. I don’t know if they fully understand that concept, and I don’t know if it matters. At the end of the day, it’s a fun experiment, and when you’ve been playing for as long as we have and playing as many shows as we have, I think it’s important to keep coming up with new ideas, to keep it fresh for the fans and fresh for yourselves. So hopefully this will connect. It’s certainly exciting.”
The “M72” tour features a bold new in-the-round stage design that relocates the famed METALLICA Snake Pit to center stage, as well as the “I Disappear” full-tour pass and the debut of discounted tickets for fans under 16 years of age.
METALLICA is visiting a total of 22 different cities around the world and playing two nights in each city.
Opening acts include FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, ICE NINE KILLS, MAMMOTH WVH, PANTERA, ARCHITECTS, GRETA VAN FLEET and VOLBEAT.
METALLICA promises fans who purchase a two-day ticket that they won’t see the same song twice for a total of over 30 songs spanning the band’s 40-plus-year career.
Each weekend offers a variety of “Enhanced Experiences”, ranging from access to a meet-and-greet, production and stage tour, food and beverage in the “Black Box” lounge to early entry into the venue and the Snake Pit. The very popular “Black Laminate” is back, now known as the “I Disappear Ticket”, and is the ultimate pass for the fan who wants to run away with METALLICA for multiple weekends.
A single “I Disappear” ticket purchase gives you access to as many of METALLICA‘s 46 headlining tour dates across Europe and North America in 2023 and 2024 as you choose. You decide how many shows you’d like to attend around the world, and for how long, and METALLICA will make it as easy as possible.