Come 2021, Metallica will be celebrating their 40th anniversary. It’s an anniversary drummer and founding member Lars Ulrich is looking forward to, though he doesn’t want to dwell on the past too much.
On Monday, Ulrich joined master distiller Rob Dietrich ahead of this week’s “Metallica Mondays” set for a discussion on the Blackened American Whiskey Instagram page to reminisce about music, reflect on the band’s history and look forward to what the future holds.
“It always feels like we’re just getting started,” said Ulrich halfway into the interview (transcribed by Blabbermouth). “Forty fucking years! Yeah, it’s crazy. We’re in 2020 here, so I guess next year is the 40th anniversary.”
“All those clichés about ‘age is just a state of mind,’ but there is definitely a part of me that still feels like all the best years are ahead of us. I guess that’s kind of how I have always thought.”
With that state of mind, Ulrich says he can reminisce about the past and his music, but prefers instead to look to the future:
“I can’t spend a lot of time in the past, and I can’t spend a lot of time going down memory lanes. Obviously, when people like you and I are talking or if I’m doing interviews or whatever, I can hang in the past, but when I’m not doing that, I spend most of my time in the future — [focusing on] what’s ahead.”
“People go, ‘What’s your favorite Metallica record?’ It’s, like, you know what? The next one is my favorite Metallica record. So I always think ahead.”
Thankful for his nearly 40 year career, Ulrich says he feels closer to his bandmates and the fans than ever before:
“It’s been an awesome ride so far. Forty years next year, and I’m just thankful for James [Hetfield], Kirk [Hammett] and Rob [Trujillo] and thankful for this incredible ride. And it feels like, I guess, in some peculiar way, that we’re getting closer and closer. I guess social media, the way that we connect with the fans nowadays, still touring all over the world, the spirit and the way we connect with the fans just feels more and more pure, more and more transparent and more and more honest. We just throw it all out there.”
“I love social media. I love the fact that you and I can sit here and do this. And to me, what rock and roll is is really just about connecting to other people.”
“When I think of the last three or four years and the ‘Hardwired[… To Self-Destruct]’ ride, it’s amazing how it feels like it’s getting more and more intense and more and more intimate — I guess, always working on trying to break down that barrier between the band and the fans and trying to make us all one. The indoor stage of the last couple of years, playing in the round, with the snakepit, and the shows we’ve played in the last few years outdoors, it just feels like we’re connecting at a more intimate level than we ever have before. So, like I said, hopefully we’re just getting started.”
Ulrich and vocalist James Hetfield started Metallica in 1981 in their home city of Los Angeles, CA. Over the next four decades, the band, rounded out by guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Rob Trujillo, would establish themselves as one of the “big four” thrash metal bands, releasing 10 studio albums and selling out stadiums all over the world.
Dietrich and Ulrich wrapped up their conversation announcing the Blackened American Whiskey Batch 100 box set. The set includes a bottle of the latest batch of whiskey, as well as a double 12” picture disc playlist of Metallica songs selected by Dietrich and curated by Ulrich. Box sets are available for pre-order now.
Over the last few weeks, the band has been delighting fans with their “Metallica Mondays” series of shows, releasing a new, historic concert every week. The band went deep this week, sharing a 1983 set recorded in Chicago, IL.
Metallica released their latest album, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, in 2016. In April, Ulrich hinted that the band could possibly record an album during shelter-in-place.