The joy of playing is the same, or perhaps even greater.

The joy of playing is the same, or perhaps even greater.

Lars Ulrich is currently traveling around the world with Metallica on their M72 World Tour, where they also took the stage in Parken in Copenhagen in June. IMPACT has met with him to talk about rockstar life in 2024, his love for Danish design, creativity, and, not least, the joy of a Danish roll with butter.

Interview: Lars Ulrich, Metallica

Foto: Lars Ulrich, Metallica. Fotograf: Ross Halfin

      • Foto: Lars Ulrich, Metallica. Fotograf: Ross Halfin

    METALLICA HAD YOUR FIRST CONCERT IN DENMARK IN 1984. HOW DO YOU STAY TOGETHER AS A BAND FOR OVER 40 YEARS?

    We know each other as well as you can imagine. It naturally becomes more challenging to stay together the longer we go on, and we use more time, resources, and patience to respect each other’s differences. After everything we’ve been through in almost 42 years, I think it’s going really well. The joy of playing is the same – or perhaps even greater. We are extremely happy with what we have together – and that on the other end, there is an audience and a brilliant amount of fans who still follow us. Metallica is a universe that belongs to everyone – not just us. We are the ones keeping it going, but we also respect what Metallica means to everyone else.

    WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT PLAYING IN COPENHAGEN AGAIN?

    Playing in Parken is the best. We’ve played there a couple of times before, and now we get to come and play there twice. Standing on Denmark’s home turf as a Dane – it doesn’t get better than that. We’re playing both Friday and Sunday. We call it ‘No Repeat Weekend.’ We play 100% different songs on the two evenings, and it’s a format we really like.

    IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE BACK IN DENMARK?

    Over the past 40 years, it might have been eating a bag of Piratos, a roasted hotdog at the sausage stand on Kongens Nytorv, beef patties with onions, or fried pork with potatoes and parsley sauce. But things change over time, and today I eat plant-based, so I haven’t had many hotdogs in recent years, but a roll with butter and a slice of school cheese. I love to have that. One of the first things I always do – whether it’s summer or winter – is to go up to Louisiana in North Zealand. I think what they have up there is so typically Danish. Not just the collection, but the architecture and the view over the Sound. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. The hardest thing is always that I don’t feel I have enough time when I’m in Denmark.

     

     

    DO YOU EVER CONSIDER MOVING BACK?

    I come back all the time. I am always on the move, so it doesn’t make sense for me to talk about moving or moving back. I love to be on the move. I love being in Europe, and I love being in the USA, where my children were born. I can easily imagine being more in Denmark over time, but I’ll never sit in one place for too long. I have too much energy for that.

    YOU MENTIONED LOUISIANA, AND YOU ARE ALSO KNOWN AS AN ART COLLECTOR. IS IT SOMETHING YOU STILL PURSUE?

    Yes, I love collecting. Art is a big topic, but I’ve collected everything from paintings to design, furniture, ceramics, and records. I love collecting, and I love being curious. I like going to museums and antique shops and exploring the different countries we visit, but what I love the most comes from Danish aesthetics. I am crazy about the big Danish design giants like Jacobsen, Wegner, Panton, and Bodil Kjær and the Danish painters like Asger Jorn, Mogens Andersen, or Per Kirkeby.

    METALLICA IS ALSO KNOWN FOR THE ARTWORK THAT HAS ACCOMPANIED YOUR DIFFERENT ALBUMS. IS THAT A PROCESS YOU ARE INVOLVED IN?

    We are all very involved in the creative process with our design, our covers, our aesthetics. Of course, we have people we collaborate with, but it comes from us. Whether it’s covers, T-shirts, logos, or other artwork, it starts with the music, the lyrics, and the ideas. We also collaborate with different brands, such as shoes with Vans, where we are involved in the creative conversations. We are very hands-on and involved in everything that is designed.

     

     

     

    YOU HAVE THREE SONS. IS MUSIC AS BIG A PART OF THEIR LIVES?

    They have all grown up around music with a good mix of Deep Purple, AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses, Foo Fighters, and Arctic Monkeys. The two oldest have a band together, released an album last year, and have toured in Europe and the USA. Last weekend they actually played at a festival in the USA with Foo Fighters. They love music, and they love what they do, but they also try to forge their own path independently of Metallica. My youngest, Bryce, turns 17 tomorrow. He goes to high school and plays guitar. It’s really cool that all three play, but it’s something they have found on their own.

    HAVE THEY INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?

    In large part, they probably inspire me. They support me in everything I do, and occasionally I get a surprising compliment, which brings a smile and a bit more motivation. But the bigger answer is that anything positive in one’s life inspires one to continue doing what one does. For me, it’s not just good music that inspires me to play music. It’s also art. If I see a beautiful painting or a great movie, it can inspire me to go into the studio the next day and try to write a better song or do something better musically.

    YOU TURNED 60 LAST YEAR. HAS THAT GIVEN YOU NEW PERSPECTIVES ON LIFE?

    Oh! Are you sure about that? The physical aspect needs to be respected, and I spend more time on exercise, diet, and lifestyle to stay fit for what I do, but at the same time, there’s the paradox that part of me still feels like I’m 13-14-15 years old. It’s a mix of two different feelings, but I’m happy with where I am in my life. I’m not walking around regretting and fighting the past. My father died five months ago. He was 95, and I’m sure a big part of what kept him going was waking up every day and trying to be as creative as possible and getting the things in his head onto a computer or a canvas. People in the creative world don’t stop being creative. I really want to continue as long as I can. Just look at Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. They’re still out there playing and touring and inspiring, so hopefully, there are still a few years left for me too.

    CAN YOU STILL LIVE THE ROCKSTAR LIFE OR IS EVERYTHING MORE SUBDUED NOW?

    It depends on what you mean by the rockstar life, but I don’t take any of the big trips anymore. I enjoy other things in everyday life with the same joy and enthusiasm. I’m very grateful for where I am physically and mentally at the moment. Few things get easier with age, and today I probably spend five times as much time and energy just maintaining my level.

    DO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME YOU TOUR THE WORLD LIKE THIS?

    I don’t think that at all. There hasn’t been any talk of that at any point. If you look at Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Paul McCartney, who are still playing, then hopefully we still have 10-15 years or maybe 20 years left. There’s absolutely no talk of what you just mentioned. I actually don’t like to say it at all. Right now, we’re just enjoying being on this tour and not least hitting Copenhagen at the end of June.

    BOX ABOUT LARS ULRICH

    Lars Ulrich turned 60 in December and is currently on a world tour with Metallica, where he has been the drummer since 1981. Metallica will play in Parken in Copenhagen on June 24 and 26, 2024.

     

     

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