During a new appearance on the "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend" podcast, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich once again credited the group's healthy diet and lifestyle for its longevity, insisting all his bandmates eat well and try to live balanced lives when they're not on the road.
Regarding the fact that METALLICA is preparing to embark on a two-year world tour, Lars said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It doesn't get any easier whatsoever. It takes twice the effort or more just to reach the same level, just to plateau. So it's not I'm on the Peloton an hour and a half a day and I'm working out and I'm watching what I'm eating and I'm being healthy and all that to get better; it's just to stay the same at this age. But I take it seriously. All of us, in our own ways, take it seriously. All of us have different routines, our own unique ways of approaching it. And the main thing is that when we get up on that stage, we wanna be there for the other guys in the band and, obviously, for the audience and be the best we can be."
He continued: "I do find myself often at a crossroads in my mind where I eat the same shit for breakfast every day, I eat the same shit for lunch every day, more or less the same thing for dinner every day. I'm very, very routine based, and I really like to be in that routine. But as soon as I'm out of that routine, it's, like, 'I need my tofu for dinner. And I need my protein. And I need this and that.' And I kind of sit there and go, 'Really? You can't just go to a restaurant with your friends and have what's on the menu? You've gotta be that rigid?' If you could sit here with your 22-year-old [self], I'd go, 'Really? That's what you've become?' So it's a constant battle between those two approaches.
"Somebody said a couple of weeks ago when I was explaining these new lifestyle choices, as we call 'em, he said, 'It feels good to feel good.' And I like that," Ulrich added. "I still occasionally drink, but it's, like, once a month now. And I eat my protein and my yogurt and my egg whites and my tofu… This is where you're gonna end up if you wanna keep doing this shit."
Lars went on to say that he doesn't mind all the sacrifices that come along with being in a touring rock band.
"When I'm up on stage and I feel strong and I'm in that moment and the four of us are connecting and we're connecting with an audience, whatever the size is, all of it's worth it," he said.
"Who would have thought, coming up on 41 years later that METALLICA would still be functioning, would still be relevant enough to be sitting here with you guys, thank you very much, still going out there and playing a two-year tour and putting records out that still connect with people. Even in the wake of something like 'Stranger Things' last summer, reaching more and more people [through the appearance on METALLICA's classic song 'Master Of Puppets' in the show]. Who the fuck would have thought that?
"[Paul] McCartney just turned 80. He's still out there. [Mick] Jagger is doing all those sexy bum wiggles better than he's ever done and connecting. It's inspiring," Ulrich added. "And I think that as long as the shoulders and the necks and the knees and the backs, if they keep functioning on the four METALLICA guys, we'll keep doing this hopefully for another 20 years — egg whites and tofu included."
Nearly a decade ago, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett told Kerrang! magazine about the prospect of the band calling it quits: "It's the physical aspect. Tendonitis, tinnitus, ligament atrophy, accidents, repetitive stress injury, tennis elbow… those things creep into the mix. It's like, 'Fucking hell, man, I want to play guitar, but my shoulder and elbow are screaming 'no!' Your head wants to do one thing and your body wants to do another thing. That's a big obstacle that we'll have to confront in our individual way."
Added METALLICA frontman James Hetfield: "Sometimes my throat just says, 'Fuck you, James, not tonight!' Or Lars's shoulder, or Rob's [Trujillo, bass] leg cramps, or Kirk's knee, whatever it may be, we've all got our things and we work through it. We just pay attention to them!"
Asked if he can ever see a point where he would actually step away from METALLICA, Ulrich said: "I feel there's a time I could step away from it. I was very ready to step away from it right there in '01 and '02 when all that shit was going down with 'Some Kind Of Monster'. I have thousands of other things that I can entertain myself with that would be creatively stimulating. Obviously, METALLICA's my love, my priority and first thing, but I'm not afraid of what I'm going to do with my life if this all goes away. I really don't think I want to do music once METALLICA ends. Hopefully, it will last forever."
Hetfield was also asked if he can ever imagine a scenario where the band would play a final METALLICA show. "I don't think that's fair to anyone," he replied. "KISS's farewell tour for the 10th time? SCORPIONS were done and then they tour? You can't say that and then not do it. I don't know what's in store for us; I don't want to go on the history of how other bands have done it. We're unique in our own path and unique in how our path ends."
Ulrich told The Pulse Of Radio awhile ago that he was optimistic about METALLICA continuing to play for a long time to come. "It's still fun and there's still a lot of people that get off on it, and, you know, you're playing to 50,000 people in Norway and most of them weren't born, not when 'Kill 'Em All' came out, but, like, when the 'black album' came out!" he said "You know what I mean, it's like a whole new thing. The question mark is, I just don't know physically. The physical element is just the unknown. If we can find a way to deal with that, then I think we could stick around for a while."