METALLICA's Lars Ulrich has clarified a comment he made in a 2016 interview, that he would consider moving back to his native Denmark if Trump were elected president.
"I am a hundred percent Danish citizen. I pay taxes in the U.S.A., but I can't vote in America," Lars said at the time. "Yes, certainly sometimes I think about moving home to Denmark… If Trump becomes President and everything goes to shit, I might make my way to the airport and ask if I can get back in again."
In a brand new interview with U.K.'s Independent, Ulrich said that his original remark had more to do with him being drawn back to his roots.
"I feel a deeper connection to where I came from as I get older," he explained, "and I think in whatever time I have left, I'd like to spend more of my time there." He added that he loves the U.S. "You and I could spend hours talking about what I love about America as a place and as an ideal," he explained. "So when I say I think about moving back to Denmark… that's not a middle finger to America."
Ulrich went on to say that music transcends politics and recalled the unity he sees during the band's shows. "We played Abu Dhabi a few times," he said, "and there were maybe 50,000 people there from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon… incredible fans from all over the world whose countries don't get on particularly well." But inside that venue, he said, those fans held hands, embraced. "They're sharing a collective musical experience.
"If you choose to travel around the world and connect people through music, that has to be the thing that pushes you," he said. "All the shit outside… none of that matters."
Both Ulrich and METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett have previously voiced their dislike of Trump to different degrees, unusual for a band whose members have never spoken out much on politics.
Ulrich told Mexico's Las Estrellas television network about Trump's plan to build "a great wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border: "I don't think the world needs any walls. I think we need to bring people together. METALLICA travels all over the world, and through music we try to bring people together. So whether we're in Mexico or whether we're in Asia or whether we're in Europe or whatever, we encourage as many different people from as many different backgrounds to come together and share music and life and culture and all these experiences."
After Trump — one of the most polarizing figures to assume the office — was officially sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January 2017, a number of celebrities took to social media to share their thoughts, including Hammett, who urged fans to "defend democracy" and "reject American carnage."
In a series of tweets, the METALLICA guitarist was critical of Trump's inaugural address, which painted a bleak picture of life for some in the United States. "To say America is not great, that it lacks greatness, sets up a scenario for manipulation and control from others — pay attention, people!" Hammett wrote.
Three years ago, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield said he wanted to keep his opinion about President Donald Trump to himself, explaining that politics "polarizes people."
Hetfield told the Chilean newspaper La Tercera: "I hate politics. I don't wanna talk about politics. It's not important to me. What's important to me is connecting people with music. Politics, religion… they separate people. I love talking about it and my thoughts, but I think it gets in the way of people getting to understand all of you."
Hetfield added: "I have no idea. I could probably sit down and like everyone on the planet, if you get to talk with them and understand them.
"But, yeah, politics, we try to stay away from that 'cause it polarizes people. If I sit here and say that I hate Trump or I love Trump, someone will think, 'Oh, I don't like his music anymore.' It's silly. So I like to keep it about music."
Asked if he thinks America under Donald Trump is a "new America," Hetfield responded: "It's always a new America when someone comes in. But it's about balance. You have far left, far right, and it goes back and forth to keep it balanced. In the middle is the best, we know that. In the middle… accepting everything, understanding everything. But it's not like that. People aren't like that. Humans aren't like that."