Dave Lombardo Comes to Lars Ulrich’s Defense: “You Have to Embrace Who Lars Is”


Though he’s a founding member of our genre’s biggest band of all time, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich sure gets a ton of shit. From his legal battle against Napster (which the whole band signed off on) to his drumming over the last couple decades, there’s plenty for fans to shit on the dude. But one person that just ain’t fuckin’ having it is ex-Slayer/current Empire State Bastard drummer Dave Lombardo.

During a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Lombardo stood up for his fellow “Big Four” member by referencing a previous defense of the Dane by Gojira‘s Mario Duplantier.

“I saw Mario Duplantier recently talking about Lars, saying some kind words. I feel Lars is an essential part of that band – anybody else and it just won’t sound the same. I admonish the people who talk shit about him, I don’t like that. You have to embrace who Lars is, and his contribution to Metallica’s sound. They’re such an inspirational band, and everybody wants to be as big as they are, and you can only do that by taking risks. They shocked people when they cut their hair or whatever, but it was part of their evolution and they clearly knew what they were doing. I love that they’re still out there, kicking ass.”

There’s definitely something to be said about Ulrich’s contribution not just to metal, but to music in general. Separate your feelings about the band from reality and you can easily make an argument that Lars is a huge reason why Metallica is where it is today, if not only for his drumming ability early on, but for his business sense as well.

As for Lombardo, he also gave some kudos to other Bay Area drummers, with some particular attention paid to Exodus‘ Tom Hunting.

“There were so many great drummers, I can’t just pinpoint one. You admire bands with good drummers, but for me, Tom Hunting from Exodus was the first I saw, when we left LA and went to San Francisco I saw them and was like ‘this guy is badass, and you know what? He still is! We played a show with those guys in Testament [Lombardo played with Testament from 98-99 and 2022-this year], and that guy is stronger than ever. He’s made an amazing comeback after his illness [Hunting was treated for stomach cancer in 2022] and I’m so proud of him, and I’m so happy to have seen those guys as many times as I have.”

As these bands and musicians get older, it’ll be interesting to see how history reflects on their life’s work. Lars will be a particularly interesting case, for sure.

To read the entire Dave Lombardo interview, be sure to check out the upcoming issue of Metal Hammer.

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