The US band say that a support slot with The Stones helped them get back to their best, after the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster captured the huge rows that surrounded the making of their 2003 album ‘St Anger’.
According to Ulrich, heading out on the road with the legendary rockers helped them get back to the top of their game.
“For us it’s all about inviting people in and making ourselves as accessible as possible to fans. That period [in 2004] certainly wasn’t easy for us and, since then, we have learned boundaries and where our breaking points are,” the drummer told The Sun.
“That was the last time we had a real break — we haven’t shut down the band in 14 years, but we disappeared then for about a year.
“And then the Rolling Stones called us up and said, ‘Come and play some shows with us in California,’ and we sort of agreed you’re not going to say no to the Stones, so that was it.
“If you don’t care, it’s easier to walk away, but fortunately we cared enough about Metallica on behalf of ourselves and the fans to figure out a way to make it function. I’m happy that we did.”
And while Metallica were known for their hard-living at the height of their original fame in the 80s, Ulrich says their pre-show rituals are now a lot tamer.
“As you get older you learn your own breaking points, and we’ve all figured out a way of keeping clear of those edges,” he added.
Yesterday, it was also revealed that the band donated £40,000 to a Manchester homelessness charity ahead of their show at the city’s Etihad Stadium.