Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Names the Modern Band That They + Other Peers Aspire To
Metallica may be the biggest band in heavy music, but even they have peers that they look up to. During an appearance on Bill Maher's Club Random podcast (seen and heard below), drummer Lars Ulrich gave a nod of respect to U2.
The compliment came up as Ulrich and Maher were discussing the relationship dynamic within most acts, with Maher noting that most are on the verge of splitting at any given time. That's when Ulrich singled out U2 as one of the bands that famously got along well and has the dynamic that they and most bands would hope to strive for.
"U2, I think if we were sitting here with a couple of guys from the Chili Peppers and a couple of guys from Muse and a couple of guys from other bands that are still getting on, we would all agree on one thing, which is that U2 is the ideal of being in a band that we all look up to because of the way they function, but they all more or less grew up on the same street and went to the same schools. And they’ve all known each other and they have the same DNA running through their bodies."
Ulrich went on to relate how rare that dynamic is, even pointing to his own band. "It's also not true of a lot of bands, including the one you're sitting here talking to a member of. I grew up in a very liberal artsy upbringing Copenhagen, Denmark. James Hetfield grew up in pretty much the opposite any of those words here in southern California in Fullerton. Do you know what I mean? Kirk Hammett grew up in the Mission district, also in a very liberal sort of post hippie upbringing."
The band famously worked through some of their relationship dynamics in the Some Kind of Monster documentary film, and have enjoyed a much better dynamic in the years since.
"So I'm just saying U2 is sort of the pinnacle of what we all aspire to because of the fact that they can still function to the way that they do," added the drummer. "But you brought up the Eagles, I mean there are more versions of the Eagles and everybody else, the Crosby Stills Nash and Youngs of the world, that just can't do this and it's easier for all of them to go and do the solo artist stuff."
READ MORE: Fans React to Metallica's '72 Seasons' Album
Digging deeper into the "why" of it all, Ulrich offered, "Who are the guys that are going to steer? And so if you can get through that phase where you take turns steering, and leading that you don't mind taking a back seat and have enough trust and enough respect for your partner to know, if you lead on this song, if you lead on this record, or if you lead with this lyric, or whatever, I can hover back and then we take turns and you can balance it. You have a much higher chance of getting through it."
"It really is ego. I mean all great rock and roll bands are fronted by people with massive egos, or else you couldn't do it. So that's both a strength, what makes it a worldwide phenomena, and also what nine out of ten times makes it falter, is that those egos clash."
These days Metallica are in a good place as a band, with 72 Seasons even involving more songwriting contributions from Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo than in past records. You can catch the band supporting the album into 2024. Get your tickets here.