Lars Ulrich has told Pollstar in a new interview that METALLICA has no plans to stop recording and performing as long as he and his bandmates have the physicality to deliver a successful show.
The drummer, who will turn 56 in December, spoke about METALLICA's future plans while discussing the band's ongoing "WorldWired" tour, which launched in late 2016.
"When people go, 'How long is the tour?' Maybe to my early-to-mid-70s and then as long as we can keep going without, you know, falling prey to the physical ailments that can cut these things short," he said. "Knock on wood."
Asked if he thinks METALLICA can keep going that long, Ulrich said: "I'm pretty sure that the notion of us playing or functioning when we're 76 mentally is not a stretch at all. In terms of the desire to want to play music, connect with each other, connect with the fans and take METALLICA music, I think that we can, definitely. I mean, obviously, you know, sanity/insanity aside — which some could argue is certainly a part of what we do. But I'm not worried about that side of this. I think that we'll always be inspired.
"We'll always get an incredible joy out of playing music, sharing it with people will always have incredible respect for the audience and will always feel that. Playing is something that keeps us alive. Obviously, the physical part of it is the big unknown. So when you look into the future, when you look into the pipeline, who knows what that will look like?
"And if I don't want to be disrespectful to the Charlie Wattses of the world or whatever. But yeah, you know, obviously playing 'Master Of Puppets' or 'Fight Fire With Fire' or 'Battery' or any of these songs, maybe has a slightly different demand.
"I just don't know — I don't know how long it can go. We'll see. But we're taking precautions — or cautions is the right word — but we've found these bound balances for us. So right now playing 50 shows a year is good, but we could play 50 shows every year rather than play 50 shows one year and then not play any the next year. But 50 shows a year is really good for us. We play them in two-week increments. And that works really well. We go out, we play our ass off a couple of weeks and we get all beat up and banged up and burned out, and then we'd go home and then we recharge the batteries for two, three weeks and then we go out and do it again. That model works for us.
"I think that we've got a couple of guys out here that are taking care of the physical elements and stretching us and stitching us back together after the show. And, you know, we spoil ourselves with a chef that cooks good, healthy food. So we invest a lot of resources and time into trying to make the physical experience as kindly as possible.
"So hopefully there's a few years left in the tank, physically. Like I said, I'm not worried about the mental side of it now."
Ulrich's comments echo those made by METALLICA frontman James Hetfield, who said in 2015 that retirement was not on the agenda for him and his bandmates.
"Look, musicians never retire," Hetfield said. "They just become less popular. People think you've retired, but no, I'm still writing. It's a part of me. It's what I do on this planet. That's why I've been put here, I believe. And if I stop that, part of me dies. There's no retirement. So we do what we do until physically we can't do it."
According to Pollstar, METALLICA has sold more than 22 million tickets and grossed more than $1.4 billion since 1982. That puts the metal legends "just behind" U2 in tickets sold, but ahead of rock icons such as AC/DC, GUNS N' ROSES and OZZY OSBOURNE.
METALLICA recently played two shows with the San Francisco Symphony, sequels to the famous "S&M" concerts the band and orchestra did 20 years ago. METALLICA heads to Australia next month.
METALLICA has been touring in support of its latest album, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", which came out in November 2016.