Howard Stern Puts Metallica’s Lars Ulrich in Hot Seat
A day before the ‘Big 4’ slayed Yankee Stadium, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich went one-on-one with the ‘King of all Media’ Howard Stern on Sirius Radio. The in-depth interview started off right from the beginning transporting listeners back to Ulrich’s childhood to his first meeting with James Hetfield and the birth of Metallica, to the epic show that went down last night in the Bronx and everything in between.
Stern has an uncanny knack of tapping into his guests psyche and getting them to spill on their innermost thoughts, often times unbeknownst to the guest until after the fact. The jam-packed interview started off with Stern retracing Ulrich’s youth in a bohemian Denmark.
“I come from a tennis dynasty in Denmark. My father was the best player in the country, his brother was the second best tennis player in Denmark, it was what I knew,” recounts Ulrich about his early path. "Tennis was my day job but music was my passion. I grew up poor in the friendship area and was a loner that enveloped myself in music.”
As the band approaches their 30th anniversary, Lars reflected back on his original meeting with James Hetfield. “When I first met James Hetfield in the summer of ‘81, I had never met anyone more shy. He could barely look you in the eye and say hello. I obviously at that time didn’t know about his Christian Science upbringing or the loss of his mother, but we were just polar opposites. We bonded over music and we knew that we had that common dynamic but we were from two different worlds.”
Ulrich continued to discuss his relationship with Hetfield and how it and the band have evolved over their longstanding career, although not without its equal share of ups and downs.
When Stern brought up Jason Newsted saying “Your bass player was kicked out because he decided to do side projects,” Ulrich was very forthcoming with his response: “That was between James and Jason. When there’s something going on that doesn’t involve me, I stay the f—k out of it. I ran the other direction.”
In a further effort to explain the situation, Lars added, “James’ whole thing at that time was that he wanted that kind of loyalty and dedication, and to stray outside of Metallica was to show weakness. He loved Metallica so much that no one was allowed to breathe outside of Metallica. Jason needed a creative outlet and he had a fair point but James didn’t want him to do that. I stood on the sidelines like a f---ing p--sy.”
A self-taught drummer, Ulrich notes that after the release of Metallica’s first album, he had to take some lessons to get the basics down. “Before releasing ‘Ride the Lightning,’ I decided to take drum lessons for about six months because there were some basic rudiments that I didn’t even know.” If he could do it all over again, he said he would have taken the lessons from the start rather than re-learning them later on in his career.
The jam-packed interview clocked in at over an hour, covering the history Metallica and offering up some never-before-heard details about the band’s inner-workings. If you’re a fan of the band, this is one interview you’ll want to listen to. Check out the entire interview in the six audio clips below.