METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich was interviewed by Justin, Scott and Spiegel of the Baltimore radio station 98 Rock the day before the launch of the North American leg of the band's "WorldWired" tour. You can now watch the chat in three parts below.
Asked which drummer he would name as his successor if METALLICA ever had to continue without him and he was given the opportunity to choose his replacement, Lars said: "If I could pick it, if I could hear somebody drum behind [James] Hetfield's riffs, I'd take Phil Rudd [AC/DC]. Just having his kind of vibe, like what he would do… And he's been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turnaway from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after 'Justice', when we got into the 'Black' album and the 'Load' stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that. Phil Rudd, he's the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James, that'd be pretty cool."
Ulrich also talked about a hypothetical scenario where one of the musicians in the current lineup of METALLICA was no longer able to play with the group and his bandmates had to decide whether or not to carry on with a replacement player. Asked if METALLICA could continue without one of its core members, the drummer said: "That's one of those extra-hard questions to answer. I think a lot of it would have to be under what the circumstances were. And what I've learned along the way… I always try to speak my momentary truth, and I've said a lot of shit over the years, and a lot of stuff comes back to haunt me. But I'll always say that, at that moment, whatever I was feeling, it was my truth — it wasn't a party line or whatever. And so, if somebody leaves, it's hard for me to imagine that we would not go, 'You know, we've had a great ride for thirty-five years…' But if somebody encourages the other three guys to continue, or there's an injury… I mean, there's so many arbitrary parts of that, and I can just see the headline on Blabbermouth now: 'Lars Ulrich says METALLICA will…' Whatever. And it's not any of that. But I'm just saying you never know what the circumstances are… It's hard for me to imagine, as I sit here on May-something 2017 to think that METALLICA would continue. But you never know what the circumstances would be. It's a hard question to answer, and I just want you to know that I'm happy that I don't get asked it very much. 'Cause , as you can see, I'm just waffling along here, really. I don't really have an answer. I'm just taking up time on the radio."
METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett confirmed in a 2015 interview with an Albany, New York radio station that the band at one point considered firing Ulrich back in 1986. The long-running rumor first gained traction in 2009 when ex-METALLICA guitarist Dave Mustaine revealed it to Rolling Stone, and surfaced again when ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian discussed it while doing press for his 2014 memoir, "I'm The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax".
Asked about the rumor by Albany station PYX 106, Hammett revealed: "That was just an old thing, you know. I think at one point or another, we were pissed off at Lars, around maybe 1985 or something. We were unhappy and we might have grumbled something to someone. And then that person might have picked up on it and made it something a lot bigger than it actually was. To be completely honest, [Lars] has a lot of drive, and that’s a part of the reason why I love the man. His drive and his motivation is just so intense, you know."
METALLICA's "Now That We're Live" live rehearsal special from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore streamed on Facebook Live on Tuesday night (May 9). The webcast featured the band performing four new songs from the "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" album, while also previewing the band's new stage production.
The special aired on the eve of METALLICA's first full-length North American tour in seven years, which kicks off Wednesday night (May 10) in Baltimore.
The trek will hit stadiums in 25 cities before winding down in mid-August. Support on the quartet's first North American trek since 2009 will come from AVENGED SEVENFOLD, VOLBEAT and GOJIRA.