How Lars Ulrich Stopped Being ‘Lars From Metallica’
Lars Ulrich joked that his surname used to be “From Metallica” in the period when he felt he had to speak on behalf of his band during interviews.
He admitted he’s upset people with his comments over the years, and reflected on how his media interaction has changed as he became more comfortable talking about his own opinions.
“I’ve definitely pissed people off along the way,” Ulrich told singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers in a Rolling Stone interview. “When you’re 22 years old, and full of fucking crazy energy, it’s complete 110 percent impulsivity. ... I’ve always allowed myself to grow. I guess I’ve learned along the way – this is not limited to interviews, this is choices I’ve made as a person. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I usually don’t say it. Negative energy is something I try to stay away from.”
Looking back, he said: “I think I finally freed myself a while ago from ‘I gotta … speak on behalf of the band.’ … For 20 years my last name was not ‘Ulrich,’ it was ‘From Metallica.’ You get sort of comfortable talking about your own shit and your own thoughts and your own views. The bad news is, anything you say will be all over the world in half an hour. The good news is that, a half-hour later it’s gone. Something’s replacing it, so it’s got a shelf life of 12 seconds or whatever – which is obviously different from back in the day.”
You can watch the interview below.
When Bridgers discussed her negative reaction to some interview experiences, Ulrich told her: “For every super-mundane, fucking eye-rolling interview, there’s often conversations that are stimulating and interesting. … ’How did you record the last record?’ I mean, you can really only get into a practical, factual conversation. But when you get into what you’re thinking, what your views are and stuff – also when it’s not limited necessarily to music – when you get in the right mode with the right people … it can be fucking awesome.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he noted that Metallica were beginning to progress with new music, despite their lockdown-related technical problems.
“We're three, four weeks into some pretty serious writing,” he said. “And of all the shit, pandemics, fires, politics, race problems and just fucking looking at the state of the world, it's so easy just to so fall into a depressive state. But writing always makes me feel enthusiastic about what's next. It's like, fuck, there's an opportunity here to still make the best record, to still make a difference. To still do something that not even turns other people on, but turns me on.”