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Scott Ian Recalls Time When Metallica Discussed Firing Lars Ulrich

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire / Carlos Alvarez, Getty Images

Scott Ian‘s autobiography, ‘I’m the Man,’ just hit store shelves, and one of the most interesting passages comes where the Anthrax guitarist recalls a time when Metallica had discussed firing drummer Lars Ulrich.

In the book, Ian talks a lot about the early days of Anthrax and Metallica in the beginning of the thrash scene. In 1986, Anthrax were supporting Metallica on tour in Europe, and Ian recalls a conversation he had with Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett while partying in London one night:

All of a sudden Cliff and Kirk got serious. They told us when they got home from the tour they were going to fire Lars. They said they couldn’t take being in the band with him anymore and were done putting up with him. I knew there were issues between him and some of the other members, but every band has its problems. They usually work themselves out.

Cliff explained the plan: “The three of us have agreed. When we get home from this tour, we’re gonna get rid of Lars, even if it means we can’t use the name Metallica anymore.” Somehow Lars owned the name at that point, or at least they thought he did.

Ian goes on to write:

I didn’t ask why they were gonna kick Lars out. I figured it was because they wanted a better drummer, but apparently there was also a lot of business-related stuff going on behind the scenes they weren’t thrilled with.

However, Ian said the plan changed when Cliff Burton tragically died in a bus accident on that very same tour. After that, the band decided they couldn’t lose two core members so they stuck with Ulrich in the lineup:

I asked James what’s happening with the Lars situation. “We’re not going to do that now,” he said. “We can’t lost two guys. We’re going to find a new bass player. The last thing Cliff would want would be for us not to play music.’

However, in a new interview about his book with radio station KILO 94.3, Ian says he now feels that Metallica ultimately wouldn’t have fired Ulrich after all. “I honestly think it wouldn’t have happened. Believe me, I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the years. I honestly think that the tour would have finished and I think cooler heads would have prevailed, maybe, and I don’t think the change would have taken place.”

‘I’m the Man’ offers incredible insight into Ian’s life, as well as Anthrax’s career and the early days of thrash metal. The book is now available at Amazon.

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