METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed spoke to Marc Spitz of VanityFair.com about METALLICA and Reed's musical collaboration "Lulu", which was released yesterday (Tuesday, November 1) in North America via Warner Bros. Records (one day earlier in the rest of the world through Universal Music). A couple of excerpts follow below.
VanityFair.com: When did Lou Reed first come across your radar as a kid?
Lars Ulrich: I grew up in a house that was very cultural. There was music and art and a lot of writing around. My dad spent a lot of time traveling in America in the 60s, and he would bring a lot of records home and have these people over . . . and they'd listen to DOORS records or HENDRIX. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND started showing up in that group of bands played around the house.
VanityFair.com: Lou is an imperious figure. Was he ever snappy at all with you during the recording sessions?
Lars Ulrich: This is not a guy that minces words. He goes directly to the point; he says what's on his mind, and we love him for that. Sometimes he's very blunt and it's almost like, "Whoa, gotcha!" We had three to four full fantastic rock days together in New York a couple of years ago [before the Hall Of Fame concerts], so obviously we knew what we were getting in bed with. We became soulmates. We just bonded. I'm aware of his reputation, but he treats me with respect.
VanityFair.com: I think it's different with other musicians than it is with journalists.
Lars Ulrich: There were a couple of times where we'd do a take of a song, and I was knocking on the door and said, "Hey, should we do another take?" And he'd just look at me and go, "I'm not singing that ever again." And I thought, O.K., Lou, I can't argue with that. I like the bluntness of it.
VanityFair.com: How far along were you with the "Lulu" project before you decided that you wanted this particular power for your songs?
Lou Reed: I did a version of it for Bob Wilson that went one way, and I thought it would be remarkable to do it with my metal brothers . . . It was done with electronics and cellos and strings and then when we did it with METALLICA, we sent them that and said, "Now what happens if you take a crack at it using this as a takeoff point?"
VanityFair.com: The freedom they have and the freedom you have joining forces
Lou Reed: To say the least. Look, O.K.? Just to cut through so much of this formality I could do anything I want. They could do anything they want. We chose to do this as a project we wanted to do. Something beautiful. Period. It's not complicated.
Read the entire interview from VanityFair.com.
Photo credit: Anton Corbijn