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Ride the Lightning Producer on Metallica’s Lars Ulrich: “I Thought He Was Absolutely Useless”

  • Axl Rosenberg

Lars Ulrich infamously likes to play things fast and loose with his tempos, which is a problem since he’s, like, a drummer and stuff.

And while it obviously doesn’t bother people that much (Metallica continue to be one of the biggest bands of all time in any genre, ever), fans who do enjoy poking fun at Ulrich’s technical shortcomings will surely feel vindicated by a new Metal Hammer interview with Flemming Rasmussen, the dude who produced arguably the three best Metallica albums: Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and …And Justice for All. Reminiscing about the recording of Lightning, Rasmussen says Lars has always had a problem keeping a consistent tempo, “impulsively speeding up and slowing down as the songs progressed”:

“I thought he was absolutely useless. The very first thing I asked when he started playing was, ‘Does everything start on an upbeat?’ And he went, ‘What’s an upbeat?’”

The producer continues:

“We started telling him about beats. That they have to be an equal length of time between that hit, that hit and that hit, and you have to be able to count to four before you come in again. Then he could play a really good fill that nobody else had thought of doing at that time.”

So it wasn’t all bad. Lars’ power obviously comes from his abilities as a creative entity — that quality which allows him to “play a really good fill that nobody else had thought of doing at that time” — than for his technical prowess.

You can read the entire interview here.

[via Metal Injection]

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