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Metallica are still ‘four outsider loner dudes trying to figure it all out’ says Lars Ulrich

Metallica 2021
(Image credit: (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)

Metallica might be the biggest metal band in the world, but in drummer Lars Ulrich’s eyes, the group are still ‘four outsider loner dudes trying to figure it all out.”

Reflecting back on the phenomenal success his band achieved with their 30-million-selling ‘Black Album’, which turned 30 in August, Ulrich tells NME that it was “a victory for the underdog and the disenfranchised, for all the music lovers that lived on the edge.”

“It didn’t feel we had moved to the mainstream,” he insists. “It felt like the mainstream came to us.”

“I remember we were in New York six, nine months after the record came out and people would say, ‘Hey – are you the guy from Metallica?’ That had never happened before anywhere. Everything that fuelled us and made us get out of bed was trying to be contrary to what the mainstream was.”

For all its success, Ulrich insists that his group’s self-titled fifth album is just part of Metallica’s continuing journey, rather than the peak of its achievements.

“When I think of Metallica’s career, there’s no before ‘The Black Album’ and after ‘The Black Album’,” he says. “I’m not trying to play it down, but each one of the records we’ve made has its own set of experiences and memories. To me, every one of those experiences is a stepping stone to what came next. But I’m very appreciative that this led to this, which led to six incredible months with Lou Reed [making and promoting Lulu] or any of the other life-changing experiences we’ve had with other artists.”

“We’re always happiest when we’re experimenting. We were fulfilled when we could look back and feel we were never tied down to something that the fans or anyone else wanted from us.”

Metallica played a special show last night at the 500-capacity San Francisco club The Independent. Unsurprisingly, all 500 of the $20 tickets handed out at the club sold in just 13 minutes. 

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