METALLICA's LARS ULRICH Sells Art, Gets Unpleasant

May 16, 2002

On Tuesday, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich auctioned five paintings from his collection, acquired over a decade between METALLICA tours and recording sessions, according to Encyclopedia Metallica. Fourteen more will be sold in London in June.

Basquiat's monumental 1982 painting easily eclipsed the old mark for a work by the late artist of $3,302,500 set in November 1998 by "Self-portrait," as well as its high pre-sale estimate of $5 million. Along with four other works, it added over $13 million to the bank account of drummer Lars Ulrich who sold the paintings from his impressive collection.

The following is the interview with Ulrich that appeared in The New York Times last week:

Q. What relation does the art have with your playing in METALLICA?
A. I'm fascinated by a creative moment, trying to guard the moment from contrived infiltration. So most of what we've been trying to do musically has been to be faithful to what comes to you in the moment. Those are the same basics I find myself connecting to in specific painters, or in outsider art by guys that are institutionalized. The same thread runs through it.

Q. Have you ever scheduled METALLICA stuff around your collecting? Like if there's an Asger Jorn exhibition in Copenhagen, do you start thinking about studios around there?
A. I can't think that I have. On days off I've jumped on a plane to look at a painting. I can tell you that in the last few years it has made the European tours a little easier. I can walk you through every gallery or museum in every major city.

Q. Are there other musicians out there that you talk art with?
A. Adam Clayton from U2 has a Basquiat hanging in the studio in Dublin. Lenny Kravitz has been purchasing some Basquiat stuff. A lot of musicians have a connection to Basquiat because they consider his whole story to be rebellious. They find that fairly easy to embrace. Once you start talking Asger Jorn or Karel Appel, the company gets a little more selective. Basquiat's story is fascinating, but to me it's secondary to the paintings

In related news, the following item appeared in today's edition of the New York Post:

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich might be the "Most Unpleasant Rock Celebrity You've Ever Met," beating out dozens of other candidates who are skewered under that heading on the Web site

"Scuseme," who claims to be a music reporter, told how Ulrich kept him waiting "all day" for an interview on the set of the "I Disappear" video.

Scuseme relates that when he was finally ushered into Ulrich's trailer, "Lars was getting his makeup and wardrobe touched up . . . his 'big' scene was rapelling down the side of a building, and he'd scraped his knee a bit. When the wardrobe girl tried to fix the hole in his pants, he actually kicked at her and screamed, 'That [bleeping] hurt, you [bleeping] bitch!' The girl was just about to burst into tears as he turned to me and said, "You have exactly five minutes."

Other examples of obnoxious rocker behavior:

* Paul Simon and Edie Brickell once demanded two musicians give them their chairs at a Joni Mitchell show.

* Neil Young interrupted a struggling musician's recording session and refused to shake the artist's hand.

* Marilyn Manson serves groupies "ground-up sea monkeys" and pretends they're drugs.

* Veteran punker Henry Rollins dislikes having women journalists and photographers around because they "ruin his focus."

* Gene Simmons, before KISS hit it big, called a rock-magazine editor and asked, "Whose [bleep] do I gotta [bleep] to get my band on the cover?"

* Fred Durst tried to pick up a woman at a Grammy event with the line: "Wanna party, baby?" When the woman shot back, "No Thanks," Durst called her a "bitch."

* David Crosby may have given Julie Cypher his sperm, but one executive who had to work with the aging hippie describes him as "the smelliest and dirtiest rock star I have ever met. The guy had a nasty crust on every part of his exposed skin." Crosby's attitude towards his groupies and the executive wasn't much cleaner.

Not to appear biased, the kind folks at the Web site also put up a "Nice" musician link, which listed Andrew WK, Willie Nelson, Pete Townshend, Billy Idol, Eddie Van Halen and Bruce Springsteen as "the most pleasant."

The biggest surprise was that several contributors listed Yoko Ono as their favorite. One journo even went so far as to describe John Lennon's screeching widow as "enthusiastic and forthcoming and open and genuine."

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