Metallica’s Lars Ulrich: “We Still Don’t Really Feel like We Belong, No Matter How Successful We Are”
Continuing to promote his band’s new album, 72 Seasons, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich made an appearance on the “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast, where he discussed Metallica’s career trajectory and the success they’ve had. As it turns out, it doesn’t always feel real to the band, who started from DIY roots.
“At that time, the music business was very formulaic, and so it was, ‘This is how you’re supposed to do it.’ You get signed to a record company. You get a chunk of money. Then you go make a record on their terms, by their formula and their directive, and then they promote you how they wanna promote you, and blah blah blah blah blah. And of course, we weren’t interested in that, we weren’t buying in to that, we didn’t think that any of that would be a possibility, so we just started doing our own thing, making some tapes, sending them to people in Europe. And very slowly we started realizing that there were way more like-minded people, music fans like ourselves, who didn’t want their music coming out of that mainstream formula that the record company sort of provided.”
Ulrich went on to say that the number of like-minded fans grew as bands like Metallica continued to play in Europe and the United States, but it still doesn’t always feel real or permanent to the drummer.
“And talk about mindfucks — that was this crazy mindfuck that nobody could predict was gonna happen. It wasn’t that all the bands that were edgy moved towards the mainstream; it was that the mainstream moved out towards where all the edgy bands were. And 10 or 20 years later, all this crazy stuff that everybody was doing became the mainstream. And I still sort of struggle a little bit with that. In all seriousness, I still have a hard time… I’m permanently… always feel like we’re outsiders, because that’s how we grew up. So when all these great things are happening, it all still feels like either momentary or somebody is gonna [say], ‘Okay, now make room for the real guys that are gonna come in and do this properly’ or whatever. And so there’s a little bit of, like, ‘Holy shit.’ We still don’t really feel like we belong, no matter how successful we are.”
We recently learned that 72 Seasons is Metallica’s worst-selling album since …And Justice for All, but it’s not for lack of trying—the band recently released music videos for every song on the album.