Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian recalls Metallica's plan to sack Lars Ulrich in the 1980s.
Ian, who this week released his book I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax, says he doesn’t believe they ever would have gone through with it, but he confirms there was talk of bringing in a replacement sticksman.
The Anthrax man became close friends with Metallica in the 80s when the two bands toured together. He overheard the plan to sack Ulrich, which was hatched during Cliff Burton’s final tour with Metallica before his tragic death in a bus accident in 1986.
Ian tells 94.3 Kilo: “A lot of people have been asking me about this, and that story’s actually been out there for a long time. I’m not outing this – that would never be my intention. My book’s not like an expose. It’s not that kind of a book.
“But the story was they had made a plan that they were gonna make a change and get a new drummer. We were all kind of blown away by that, because it was the four of them. It was like, ‘Wow! Really?’ And they were, like, ‘Yeah. When we finish this tour, we’re gonna find a new drummer.’
“What could I do? Just as a guy who was friends with all of them, you feel, ‘That’s a bummer for Lars. That sucks.’ And at the same time, you hope your friends can continue on and do what they wanna do with themselves.
“Obviously, history turned out differently for Metallica and they went on to become, arguably, one of the biggest bands on the planet. So I’m just glad it all worked out for my friends. It was a horrible tragedy that Cliff was killed in that bus accident.”
Despite hearing the band discuss Ulrich’s future, Ian insists he believed it was probably all pie in the sky.
He adds: “I honestly think it wouldn’t have happened. Because, believe me, I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the years. I honestly think that the tour would have finished and I think cooler heads would have prevailed and I don’t think the change would have taken place.”