Interview With METALLICA Drummer Lars Ulrich

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The A.V. Club spoke to METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich about the 2017 Grammys, his band’s performance with Lady Gaga, and what a constantly shifting music industry means for Ulrich and his group. This interview was conducted two days after the Grammy awards show. A lot of speculation has begun about a potential collaboration between two of popular music’s biggest superstars, with Ulrich himself going on the record to other media outlets around the time of this Q&A, making it known he has indeed invited Gaga to join the band out on tour as their new co-lead singer, when her hectic schedule permits. No official word has come out from the band’s camp if Gaga will make another live appearance with the legendary metal act when they tour America.

The A.V. Club: Since everyone’s talking about the Lady Gaga collaboration at the Grammys, let’s start there. Rolling Stone quoted her as saying you two met at Bradley Cooper’s house, and that’s how this all came together. What made this materialize instead of just being the kind of “we should work together” thing that never ends up happening?

Lars Ulrich: Well, obviously, there’s a whole bucket-load of people that you respect and admire as artists. One thing we do pride ourselves on in Metallica is that we don’t necessarily do a lot of collaborations, so when we do them they’re pretty special. We try to cherry-pick them a little more. When you do the Grammys, part of what makes the Grammys special is that collaborative undercurrent. So the Grammys asked us if we would come and do it again, and then literally in that same couple of days they were like, “Do you have anybody in mind?” We were talking internally about how awesome it would be for James [Hetfield, Metallica’s vocalist-guitarist] to sing with a great female voice and have a back-and-forth on one of the new songs. And then I just happened to run into her at this dinner. Sometimes that stuff just happens fairly organically. A lot of times, it’s always better when you don’t chase it. We don’t go looking for this stuff, generally. When it happens, it’s always by these chance encounters. So there was an organic and pure element to the whole undertaking that was pretty special.

AVC: Did it feel pretty natural when you all got in a room and ran through the song?

LU: Listen, I knew this was going to work. I mean, Gaga is a metal chick at heart. There was no way this was not going to work. It was totally in her DNA. It was totally in her wheelhouse. This was not not going to work. The only question was at what level it was going to work.

We did one run-through. The way her and James’ voices worked, it jelled so well together we all kind of stood there like, “Huh?” It was really fucking next-level. I think we rehearsed it twice, maybe three times on Friday night. And it was just dialed. There was no sort of, “Oh, my god, what are we doing here?” This was as natural and organic as you could imagine this type of stuff being. This was a home run from the get-go.

AVC: You said that Lady Gaga was “the quintessential fifth member of this band” and this is just the start of your work together. How do you see that taking shape?

LU: As you spend 72 hours with somebody, and there’s this connection and this intimacy, part of it is that maybe you don’t want it to end. When these moments work, you always leave them open to reconnection. So obviously, we’re not sitting in a recording studio today writing songs for a record or anything. I think that our weekend together was so seamless and so authentic and such a natural fit that the idea of revisiting this at some point down the road… As we were walking off one of the soundchecks, she said to me, “We gotta do something again together. This is just too good to leave.” And I said, “I agree with you. It’s just too real.”

Obviously, we haven’t sat around and talked about this yet. It’s been 48 hours. [Laughs.] I’ve been busy hearing myself talk about tours and all kinds of other stuff. But if there was ever an opportunity to revisit something like this, this is about as pure as it could get. So we’ll see.

Read the complete interview HERE.

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