LARS ULRICH: Why METALLICA Will Never Put Out The Same Record Every Couple Of Years

December 15, 2017

In the new issue of Music Week magazine, Lars Ulrich addressed his comments in a 2012 SPIN interview in which he said that if METALLICA were to become the band everyone wants them be, it would kill them.

"What I was attempting to say is that in the somewhat conservative corners of the hard rock world there is a desire to have the bands put out the same record every couple of years, with the same sleeve, the same creative approach and be predictable," Ulrich explained. "I've always said that's not the band that we're interested in being. We've fought against that for over three decades. We've always stood very hard against being pigeon-holed. We really like doing things our way."

Lars's latest comments echo those he made in a Clash interview earlier this year. Asked if METALLICA ever felt confined by what heavy metal should be, Lars said: "We have had an at-times slightly tumultuous relationship with the metal community because we have never wanted to play by the rules that were set, and so, within that world there is — and it's important that I choose my words carefully here — there can be a preference for sameness. There can be a slightly conservative creative approach, which is that people play it safe rather than take risks… There are particular aesthetics and stuff — you know, the album covers are supposed to look this way, and you're supposed to look this way and act this way and have this certain kind of attitude or demeanour about you and all this type of stuff, and we've always found a lot of that stuff really silly, and we found a lot of it stifling and limiting and really almost suffocating.

"I remember when the second record came out, 'Ride The Lightning', and there was acoustic guitars on it," he continued ."There were members of the metal community that were infuriated about the fact that there was an acoustic guitar on a METALLICA record. So, there has always been this dichotomy about we're sort of leading the cavalry, but at the same time, we're not leading the cavalry the way that a portion of that world wants us to lead it, and so we've always been somewhat at odds — somewhat at odds, not at odds — and there's occasionally been some friction there. You know, 'They cut their hair,' or, 'They do a photo shoot in Saint Laurent jackets,' or whatever. It's, like, who gives a shit? That's what we're doing today, and tomorrow we'll do something else. And so, it's that kind of one-track approach that, for me as a person, has never been… You know, I'm really interested, I'm really curious, I'm really up for whatever — 'Let's try this,' 'Let's try that,' 'We tried that, didn't like that too much…' You gotta get out there and live, and if you don't live then you suffocate. You only get one life, and all the rest of it, so it's like our time on the planet is way too short to have that much willful limit of your own options. So there has been times where that has created a little bit of a friction within the more conservative elements of the hard rock community, yes."

Ulrich told Noisey last year that "there's a conservative strain through some of" the heavy metal genre." But, he clarified, "For every conservative band, and I don't want to name any names because I don't want to be disrespectful, there's still a MASTODON, or a KVELERTAK, or SLIPKNOT, other people that challenge and do cool, weird, new shit. There's always new and different things, there's always new hybrids that happen.

"A lot of the stuff that we grew up on in the '80s, the swords and sorcery, all that kind of that kind of medieval stuff, that just wasn't for us," he added. "And I guess our attitudes were a little punkier. For every DIAMOND HEAD, for every JUDAS PRIEST and AC/DC thing I loved, I also loved the RAMONES, and I loved the SEX PISTOLS, and I loved THE CLASH and I loved ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE. There was always a little more of a punk-y kind thing that we embraced, which MOTÖRHEAD, who really influenced us, was the epitome of."

The European leg of METALLICA's "WorldWired" tour kicked off in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 2 and ran through November 3. After a break, the trek will pick up again on February 1, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, and continue through May, finishing up in Helsinki, Finland.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame band is touring in support of its tenth studio album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct", which came out in November 2016.

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