Enlarge "I don’t think I’ve ever willfully had a political conversation with him."

Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield Won’t Talk Politics to Each Other


We know more or less where Lars Ulrich’s politics lie: earlier this fall he joked that he’d move back to Denmark, where he was born, if Donald Trump were elected president.

But James Hetfield? We’ve been privy to a whole lot less about the Metallica frontman’s views. He tends to keep things focused on the band and their music in interviews.

And now we know why: he and Lars don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye politically. Moreso, they don’t even so much as discuss politics with one another.

In a recent interview with Vulture, Ulrich was remarkably candid about his political views, how those differ from Hetfield’s and what he thinks the role of a musician should or should not be when it comes to politics:

I know that James Hetfield has described himself as being somewhat conservative politically, and before the election, you’d jokingly suggested you might move back to Denmark, where you’re from, if Donald Trump was elected president. Do you and James ever discuss politics? 

I swear to you, I talk to James Hetfield about most things on this planet, but I don’t think I’ve ever willfully had a political conversation with him. We’ve spent 35 years together, and obviously we’ve been in the same room when the conversation went toward politics, but James and I sitting down in a room and discussing our particular views on something like affordable health care? Never happened.

Doesn’t it seem weird to work with someone for 35 years and never talk about politics?

The thing you’ve got to understand is that Metallica is made up of four people from four different places who took four very different paths to where we are now. The one thing that unites us is the love of the music that we’re playing and that all four of us felt like outsiders trying to figure out who the hell we were. We didn’t come together because we were questioning this in the culture or that about politics. We came together because we were all a little lost and trying to get a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. I’ll sit and talk politics with you all night, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to do it in an interview. Metallica is a collective, but we’ve just never been the kind of band to sit down and say, “Okay, what’s our common view of the world?”

Well, what’s your view of the world these days?

I grew up in a functioning social democracy. I grew up on affordable health care in a country where the word “we” is more popular than the word “I.” So trust me I have my opinions about this stuff, but I don’t really need to shout it from the rooftops. Maybe one day I will, and there are times when it’s difficult not to. I’m stunned about how truth and facts have become obsolete, and how if someone sees something they don’t like, they just say “the media made that up.” But I get plenty of shouting done about this stuff in my personal life.

Ulrich goes on to talk about he views his role as different from more vocal agitators like Bruce Springsteen and U2, then veers away to talk about the band’s new record, their famous spat with Napster and more. Read the full interview at Vulture.

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