LARS ULRICH's Drum Tech JIMMY CLARK: 'The METALLICA Crew Is Probably The Best Crew In The World'
November 19, 2023
In a new interview with Nicholas Georgakopoulos of The ProgRock Digital podcast, METALLICA's longtime drum tech Jimmy Clark spoke about how he first landed the gig. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I'm going on my tenth year being with them. And in my industry, it really comes down to word of mouth and who you've known and met on the way up. That's how I got part of the part of the METALLICA organization, from people who are in the organization who I've known over the years. And they just followed me, and they knew what I was doing, because I've been with a lot of different acts as either a carpenter, a drum tech, a rigger, stage manager, so I've had a lot of hats I've worn. So, when the opportunity came up to be in METALLICA, I mean, well, when they needed drum tech, people that were involved reached out to me and the rest is history."
Asked to "run us through a day in the life of Jimmy Clark out on the road with METALLICA," Jimmy said: "Well, let me tell you. You know what? The METALLICA organization is a very well-oiled machine and it's not stressful at all. I think we're down to doing 25 shows a year now on the starting of the [tour in support of the] '72 Seasons' [album]. We have a huge 40-yard-by-40-yard stage now, and we do two shows per city or country, wherever we're in. And it's just something you adapt to. After about a week of doing it, I found my grounding and I just get it done. The METALLICA crew, for one, is probably the best crew in the world for anybody. Everybody in their department is the top in the industry. So that makes it easy. So we move our gear and everything quickly, efficiently and safely."
He continued: "So yeah, that's pretty much it. It's not stressful for me at all. I've enjoyed this gig from the day I got it to when we're in St. Louis next week and I hear him play that first note again. I love METALLICA's music and I enjoy 'em; I haven't got tired of 'em. And I look forward to every night when they play to make sure that Lars is having a great night and he's comfortable, having a great show."
Clark went on to say that he no longer gets nervous prior to each gig the way he did when he first started working for the METALLICA organization. He explained: "[I used to feel that way] when I first got the gig, 'cause when I realized, 'Oh my God, now I work for METALLICA and I work for the biggest metal drummer in the world.' I mean, to me, Lars is like — I might as well be working for John Bonham or Keith Moon or any of those guys I grew up on. He's iconic. So in the beginning, yeah, it was a little rattling until I found out his face expressions and when I knew he needed [something], and now it's to the point where I'm just so comfortable with them. I just get up there and do my gig, as long as I know I'm pretty confident in myself that I have everything in order. The worst thing I have before a show to do is maybe go take a leak before the show and it's a long way to the bathroom. That's the worst of my worries right there."
In a 2017, interview with Drum! magazine, Clark said that he landed the METALLICA gig after a long run as head carpenter on country superstar Kenny Chesney's tour. He first started on the road with METALLICA as a carpenter/rigger. "Then one day, when I didn't have much to do, I introduced myself to Flemming [Larsen], who had been Lars's drum tech through the duration of his career," Jimmy recalled. "He was cleaning cymbals, and I said, 'Hey, Flemming. Can I help you out?' He said, 'Sure, man, if you want to.' He gives me the 18-inch crash, some polish and some rags, and sends me on my way."
Clark continued: "Now, as Lars will tell you, I'm the cymbal polish connoisseur. I won't play my kit if they're not clean; it's a pet peeve I have. So, I bring the crash back to Flemming in 15 minutes and he loses his mind — not in a good way. He goes, 'Oh, no! That's too good! I'll never get the rest of them to look like that!'" Clark replied, "Hey, I'll do 'em all. I'd be happy to."
When Larsen decided to take time off in 2015, Tony DiCioccio at METALLICA's management Q Prime Management called Clark and offered him the job as the band's official drum tech.
Clark told Drum! magazine that working for METALLICA is his dream gig.
"I've already told [Lars], 'I'm here until you retire,'" he said. "That's my plan: I'll retire with him."
In support of METALLICA's latest album, "72 Seasons", the band has been playing two-night, no-repeat shows in each city— first in Europe and then in North America — as part of the "M72" tour. Each concert sees METALLICA performing on a massive ring-shaped stage, with the Snake Pit in the center, and four drum sets which are equally spaced out around the circular stage so Ulrich can get closer to the audience at various points in the show.
The "M72" tour launched in late April in Amsterdam and will resume next May in Munich, Germany.
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