METALLICA's LARS ULRICH Names Song That Made Him Want To Be In A Band

August 29, 2020

In a new interview with the U.K. edition of GQ, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich was asked when the first time was that he heard a song he wished he had written. He responded: "When I was 15 or 16, I was living in L.A. — I'd moved over from Denmark a year or two before — and I was going to school in Orange County. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal [NWOBHM] was going on. It was around 1979-81 and I would get all these records sent from England. There was this mail-order thing called Old Records, where you'd send your money and all the latest releases would show up. So I got an MCA Records compilation album called 'Brute Force'. I'd recently read about this band called DIAMOND HEAD in [U.K.'s] Sounds [magazine] that I hadn't heard of before, then they were the opening cut on this compilation album — the song was called 'It's Electric'. When I heard that song, I think I subsequently ended up playing it, like, 9,000 times for the next month. If there was ever a song that made me want to be in a band, that was it. I wasn't in a band at the time — I was still fussing around with tennis, although that was going down the drain quickly — and that song was, like, 'Holy hell, if I could just play that song or be in some sort of set-up where I could live my life playing a song like that, that's what I want to do.'"

METALLICA recorded a cover of DIAMOND HEAD's "Am I Evil" as a B-side to its 1984 "Creeping Death" single and again included it on the band's multi-platinum 1998 covers album "Garage Inc."METALLICA would record three additional DIAMOND HEAD songs: "Helpless" ("Garage Days", 1987),"The Prince" ("One" single B-side, 1989) and "It's Electric" ("Garage Inc.", 1998).

Back in 2016, DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler reflected on how he met a young Lars Ulrich back in 1981.

"I think [Lars] found out about DIAMOND HEAD through Sounds," Brian said. "He bought an album called 'Brute Force', which was a compilation by MCA. We had signed to MCA in 1982 and 'Brute Force' came out, possibly before that, in '81 and it had 'It's Electric' on, off our first album. Lars loved that track. We sold the album by mail order and we put six adverts in Sounds. You could go into any newsagent in L.A. and you could order specialist items, and he would have done that and then he sent off for his copy of 'Lightning To The Nations' for £3.50. He wrote back to the same address where he'd obviously sent his money and said how much he loved the album. He was just this über-fan. Then he came over to see us. He introduced himself backstage at this gig at the Woolwich Odeon in London, he was 17 and he'd flown over from L.A. to London to see DIAMOND HEAD. We were so impressed with that. No one had ever done that before. I let him stay with me for a week and he stayed at Sean's [Harris, then-DIAMOND HEAD singer] for about three weeks, we sort of took him under our wing a bit and made sure he was okay. We just liked him; he was full of beans. He was like a Duracell bunny. And, of course, he had this fantastic accent, which was a cross between Danish and American and we'd never heard anything like it. We'd laugh at this this young guy saying things like 'awesome.' To us, it was brilliant."

Tatler went on to say that "stayed in touch" with Ulrich after METALLICA was formed and found success of its own. "He wrote letters and wanted to know what was happening with DIAMOND HEAD," Brian said. "Then he told me in one letter about METALLICA. He said, 'We rehearse six hours a day, six days a week,' and I thought, 'Wow, that's a lot more than us.' But I didn't think these guys were gonna be the biggest heavy metal band of all time, obviously. They were just Lars's band, and they just grew and grew. I watched them rise from nothing. They covered 'Am I Evil', which was very flattering. It was the first time any band had covered a DIAMOND HEAD song. And I remember reading that 'Master Of Puppets' sold a billion copies. I thought, 'Bloody hell, they're much bigger than DIAMOND HEAD now.' And it just went on and on, never ending, through the roof."

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