METALLICA's LARS ULRICH: 'We Still Don't Really Feel Like We Belong, No Matter How Successful We Are'

April 26, 2023

During a new appearance on the "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend" podcast, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke about how he and his bandmates brought the gnarly underground sounds of thrash metal into the mainstream in the late 1980s. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "At that time, the music business was very formulaic, and so it was, 'This is how you're supposed to do it.' You get signed to a record company. You get a chunk of money. Then you go make a record on their terms, by their formula and their directive, and then they promote you how they wanna promote you, and blah blah blah blah blah. And of course, we weren't interested in that, we weren't buying in to that, we didn't think that any of that would be a possibility, so we just started doing our own thing, making some tapes, sending them to people in Europe. And very slowly we started realizing that there were way more like-minded people, music fans like ourselves, who didn't want their music coming out of that mainstream formula that the record company sort of provided."

He continued: "I've said it before — it's the same thing as if you go into a restaurant and they give you a menu and they say, 'What would you like?' But it's still limited to what's on the menu. And so we realized that a lot of music fans wanted something that wasn't on the menu at the time, [who] wanted their rock way edgier and with a different aesthetic and language and culture attached to it. And slowly, as we started making records and playing all over Europe and playing all over America, that number grew to a point where we all sort of became the mainstream. And talk about mindfucks — that was this crazy mindfuck that nobody could predict was gonna happen. It wasn't that all the bands that were edgy moved towards the mainstream; it was that the mainstream moved out towards where all the edgy bands were. And 10 or 20 years later, all this crazy stuff that everybody was doing became the mainstream. And I still sort of struggle a little bit with that. In all seriousness, I still have a hard time… I'm permanently… always feel like we're outsiders, because that's how we grew up. So when all these great things are happening, it all still feels like either momentary or somebody is gonna [say], 'Okay, now make room for the real guys that are gonna come in and do this properly' or whatever. And so there's a little bit of, like, 'Holy shit.' We still don't really feel like we belong, no matter how successful we are."

METALLICA's latest LP, "72 Seasons", sold 146,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marks the band's 12th Top 10-charting album, of which eight have reached the top two.

"72 Seasons" has had the biggest week for any rock or hard rock album since TOOL's "Fear Inoculum" arrived in September 2019 with 270,000 equivalent album units.

"72 Seasons" was released on April 14 via METALLICA's own Blackened Recordings. Produced by Greg Fidelman with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and Ulrich, it is METALLICA's first full-length collection of new material since 2016's "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct".

In the seven years since the arrival of "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", METALLICA has reissued some of its classic albums, released a second live album with the San Francisco Symphony, commissioned a covers album featuring the likes of GHOST, VOLBEAT, WEEZER, Corey Taylor and THE HU, and landed on the Billboard songs chart with "Master Of Puppets" after a prominent placement in the hit Netflix show "Stranger Things".

METALLICA's "M72" world tour will feature two-night stops in nearly two dozen cities. Presented worldwide by Liquid Death and Blackened American Whiskey (in North America only) and promoted by Live Nation, the 46-show trek will launch in Amsterdam on April 27 and will include shows all over Europe and North America through 2024. Each "No Repeat Weekend" on "M72" will feature two completely different setlists and support lineups.

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