Metallica – Lars Ulrich On Oasis, Arctic Monkeys And The Songs That Shaped His Life

Metallica are gearing up to headline Reading and Leeds this weekend but how did they get there? We’ve delved into the NME archives to give you an exclusive glimpse of drummer Lars Ulrich’s musical make-up. Behold, the records that shaped his life…

THE FIRST SONG I REMEMBER HEARING

‘Blue In Green’ – Miles Davis: “When I was a kid, my dad [former Danish tennis pro Torben Ulrich] had this music room he’d sit up all night listening to jazz records in. It was right next to my room, so I would fall asleep to the murmur of Miles Davis and John Coltrane through the wall most nights, sometimes waking up to it too. Sometimes, I’d see him going to bed as I was getting up for school.”

THE FIRST SONG I FELL IN LOVE WITH

‘Strange Kind Of Woman’ – Deep Purple: “I went to see Deep Purple in Copenhagen in 1973. It started me on a journey into rock music. I was nine, maybe 10, and wasn’t supposed to go – my dad had tickets for five of his friends and one couldn’t go, so they snuck me in. It fucking blew my mind, watching Ritchie Blackmore going wild with that guitar up there. I was never the same afterwards.”

THE FIRST ALBUM I BOUGHT

‘Fireball’ – Deep Purple: “After that Deep Purple show, I went straight down to my record store and asked for ‘Fireball’. I remember wanting it so bad that time was in slow motion as the guy behind the till handed it to me, and me bolting home to listen to it. I got so hooked on buying records I got a paper round – this horrible fucking 3am to 6am grind – just so I could buy more, more, MORE!”

THE SONG THAT MADE ME WANT TO BE IN A BAND

‘Lightning To The Nations’ – Diamond Head: “When my family moved to America in 1980, I didn’t know anyone so I became more immersed in music. I was so into this Diamond Head record I flew to London to see them. And I was so excited I fucking forgot to arrange a place to stay. When I ran into the band after the show, I told them the lengths I’d gone to see them play and [guitarist] Brian Tatler put me up for the night. I placed an ad to start a band the day I got back to America and that’s how I met James [Hetfield, Metallica frontman].”

THE SONG I CAN NO LONGER LISTEN TO

‘Orion’ – Metallica: “There was no song we didn’t want to play any more after Cliff [Burton, former Metallica bassist who died in a motor accident] passed away – we had to carry on. But there were some that were so… his. They’re still kinda poignant to play. You can be playing ‘Orion’ and all of a sudden go, ‘Fuck! What an incredible piece of music, what an incredible person.’ Losing him was more than losing a brother.”

THE SONG THAT MAKES ME WANT TO DANCE

‘Hit That Perfect Beat’ – Bronski Beat: “What can I say, it’s got a fucking good beat! There’s actually some pretty embarrassing footage of me and Kirk [Hammet, Metallica guitarist] dancing to this one out there on the internet. Have I got good moves? I don’t think I’m gonna be doing choreography on the next Metallica video, put it that way.”

THE SONG I DO AT KARAOKE

‘Wonderwall’ – Oasis: “I’ve been caught on tape singing ‘Wonderwall’ a capella. We were recording in the studio and the tapes were still running but I didn’t realise and it was put out onto the internet. I don’t know if I did it justice or not. I do know that fans sometimes call for me to sing it at shows, so make of that what you will, Gallagher brothers…”

THE SONG THAT I CAN’T GET OUT OF MY HEAD

‘R U Mine?’ – Arctic Monkeys: “I must have listened to this maybe nine million times since it came out ‘cos my kids are fucking crazy for it. I started all my kids listening to rock music really early on. The eldest started listening to it first, then the other two picked up on it and they argue between themselves, like, ‘Get your own band!’ I’m like, ‘Hey motherfuckers! I introduced them to all of you, so fucking cut it out!’”

THE SONG I WISH I’D WRITTEN

‘The Ballroom Blitz’ – The Sweet: “As a piece of pure song craft, it’s fucking genius. Those drums, the energy, even the little skit at the beginning… there’s so much to latch on to.”

THE SONG I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL

‘Live Forever’ – Oasis: “That’s the clever answer, right? Like, maybe that could even buy me some extra time! It’s just a phenomenal melody and sentiment. I’m actually not sure I want a funeral, though. I think I’d rather people light a candle for me and do things in their own way. I’m not that kind of guy.”