"If you think you're rebelling against the authority or the man, the only people you're really rebelling against is Metallica": Lars Ulrich explains why he had to stop fans stealing cushions from venues

Lars Ulrich of Metallica
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images))

Lars Ulrich has reflected on Metallica's tour history in Los Angeles, the city in which he formed the band with James Hetfield, and a place which he describes as having hosted "some of the best shows of our career".

During an appearance on the podcast series Conan O'Brien's Needs A Friend, the drummer explains how the memorable shows were owed to the area's metalheads, who he notes as being particularly "passionate".

Despite his appreciation for this enthusiastic support however, Ulrich laments how their enthusiasm would sometimes spiral into the trashing of venues. Perhaps not "trashing" in the Motley Crue lobbing televisions from hotel windows sense of the word, but on a much smaller scale; lobbing around cushions and leaving the band with a hefty bill.

Speaking of the Long Beach Arena specifically, the sticksman recalls: "What are there 16,000 seats in there? We've paid for about 15,000 of those 16,000 seats over the years because every time we were playing Long Beach Arena, people would just take the cushion, you know, play frisbee with it inside the arena".

Elaborating on how the band would be left to pay the damage, he continues: "The next day [the venue staff] would be like, 'Okay, Metallica, here's those $300,000 worth of cushions that you have to pay for'."

Ulrich then goes on to explain how Metallica had to ask fans not to inflict damage to venues with a serious warning, and adds: "We had to go on KNAC [radio station] multiple times and go 'Listen, whatever. You know, you're our fans, and we're your fans and we're all in this together. We want you to have a good time and we support that. But understand one thing, if you think you're rebelling against the building or rebelling against authority or rebelling against the man or whatever the fuck it is, do you think you're rebellious? The only people you're really rebelling against is Metallica".

The drummer then goes on to reflect on another similar situation which saw Metallica have to stop a show due to fans lobbing folding chairs onto the stage.

Recalling a show which took place at the LA Coliseum, he explains: "At that time, things were maybe slightly more unpredictable about the physical elements of the makeup of the shows, and in front of the stage the whole lawn, the football field at the LA Coliseum was [made up of] all folding chairs."

Ulrich continues, "I don't know if any of you would like to guess where 40,000 folding chairs ended up three songs into the set. Yeah. That's right. All those - whatever there was - 30, 40,000 folding chairs ended up on stage. And so we had to stop the show".

Listen to the full podcast episode below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.