METALLICA's LARS ULRICH On Renewed Popularity Of 'Master Of Puppets': 'That Whole Thing Is Such A Mindf**k'
July 29, 2022
Prior to METALLICA's headlining performance Thursday (July 28) at this year's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago's Grant Park, drummer Lars Ulrich spoke to local radio station Rock 95.5 about the resurgence in popularity of the band's classic song "Master Of Puppets". Earlier this month, the "Master Of Puppets" title track saw new life 36 years following its original release after its inclusion in season four of Netflix's hit series "Stranger Things". The popularity of the 1986 song brought it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time ever in the band's lengthy career.
"That whole thing is such a mindfuck," Lars said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "It's so difficult to fathom. Obviously, we've been following it, and obviously 'Stanger Things' have been an incredible phenomenon for years. And the fact that it kind of came out of the blue just three months ago, six months ago. [We were asked about] 'Master Of Puppets' [being included in] the season end. [And we said] 'of course.' We were happy to participate.
"We try to be very involved in letting our music be part of these cultural things that are out there and just to connect to fans and get the music out there," Lars explained. "But the way this thing has taken off. And who would have thought that — what is it? 36 years… So this song is 36 years old, and it's now in the Top 40 in the U.K. It's an eight-minute song, and it's fucking making a statement.
"[It shows you] the power of film, the power of television, the power of just culture," Ulrich added. "And obviously any opportunity you get to turn new kids or younger kids on to music that may be a gateway into discovering whatever it is — whether it's harder rock or different things, whatever is on their radar, is super cool. But this thing is just crazy. It's kind of hard to fully comprehend, but it's awesome. So we're very psyched."
In the season four finale of "Stranger Things", the Eddie Munson character performs what he calls "the most metal concert ever" — including shredding "Master Of Puppets" on his beloved Warlock guitar — in "Stranger Things"' "Upside Down" alternate universe during an attempt to help his friends vanquish the Big Bad of the season, a demon named Vecna.
On July 5, METALLICA released a statement regarding "Stranger Things" creators Matt and Ross Duffer's decision to use the group's music in the show. The band said: "The way The Duffer Brothers have incorporated music into 'Stranger Things' has always been next level, so we were beyond psyched for them to not only include 'Master Of Puppets' in the show but to have such a pivotal scene built around it.
"We were all stoked to see the final result and when we did we were totally blown away... it's so extremely well done, so much so, that some folks were able to guess the song just by seeing a few seconds of Joseph Quinn's hands in the trailer!! How crazy cool is that?
"It's an incredible honor to be such a big part of Eddie's journey and to once again be keeping company with all of the other amazing artists featured in the show."
Around the same time, METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo revealed that his 17-year-old son Tye contributed "additional guitar tracks" to the version of "Master Of Puppets" which appears in "Stranger Things".
"Master Of Puppets" was released on February 24, 1986 and was the first album METALLICA recorded after signing a major label deal with Elektra Records.
The set only reached No. 29 on the Billboard album chart but has sold over six million copies in the U.S. since.
It is the last record to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed later that year in a tour bus crash.
Several songs from the album are still staples of METALLICA's live set, including "Battery", "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" and the title track.
Many fans consider it METALLICA's finest album, a fact that the band acknowledged by playing it in its entirety on a European tour in 2006.
"Master Of Puppets" continues to sell several thousand copies a week in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In 2016, "Master Of Puppets" was among the albums that were selected for induction into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.
Several years ago, METALLICA collaborated with an author named Matt Taylor on a book about the making of "Master Of Puppets".