Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on Drumming: ‘I’ve Never Been Interested in Ability’
The caliber of Lars Ulrich's drumming has been questioned for more than three decades. While many of metal's elite drummers (Mike Portnoy, Joey Jordison) have come to defend the Metallica skinsman in recent years, it hasn't done much to quell the discussion. In a recent interview, Ulrich addressed his ability, which he expressed has never been a primary concern of his.
"To me, it's always about the song and the band first. And the drums, or the guitars, or whatever else is going on, is just part of the big picture," Ulrich told the Polar Music Prize (transcribed by Blabbermouth, video below). He stressed having to "check your ego at the door" and that, ultimately, it's about serving the song the best, adding how he's interested in how to "fit the drums into what else is going on," to highlight other elements of the music and "add a kind if physicality to it."
"I've never been very interested in ability. 'Oh, wow! This guy is so great!' Yeah, he's so great, but it doesn't mean that he can make it swing, or it doesn't mean that he can make it work within a group or a collective," he stated. Despite his love for bands like Deep Purple and their drummer Ian Paice, Ulrich noted his admiration for less frenetic players like Phil Rudd (AC/DC) and Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones). "They have a different kind of ability that, to me, is as valuable and as precious and as important in that they make it swing, they make it move, it gives it that physicality that it needs," he said of the two.
As for his personal relationship with drums, Ulrich views them as "more of a group instrument," detailing that he's never had much interest in practicing by himself. "That's not my thing," said the Metallica legend. "So being in a band, writing songs, making records, being part of a gang, being part of a band, that's always fascinated me."
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