Lars Ulrich on Metallica's Grammys Sound Issues: 'You Just Gotta Keep Playing'
The show must go on. That's basically how Lars Ulrich described the way Metallica dealt with sound issues at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Feb. 12) when lead singer James Hetfield's microphone was accidentally unplugged before their duet with Lady Gaga on "Moth Into Flame."
"A little technical hiccup, yes," Ulrich said on The Late Late Show on Tuesday night (Feb. 14). "In the heat of the battle you're out there, you're playing [and] when it's a technical issue you don't really know is it going to the house, is his vocals going to truck, maybe it's just the monitors, so you just gotta keep playing."
That said, Hetfield was not happy when it was over.
"We get off stage, we get back there and I haven't seen him like that in 20 years," he said of the clearly irate Hetfield. "I mean he was livid. He's aged really well and he's a pretty chill guy, but the first five or ten minutes in that dressing room was not a lot of fun. But as they say the show must go on."
At the very least, he said, a lot of people thought it made for great television, so mission accomplished overall.
Ulrich had a laugh with Late Late Show host James Corden during his introduction earlier in the episode, when the 2017 Grammy host visited the drummer his backstage green room. Unbelievably, mic issues cropped up again. Ulrich opened the door and pretended to talk, but his voice was inaudible, so he quickly grabbed a handheld mic. "Sorry man, the mic wasn't working," he said with a grin as Corden belly laughed from his desk. "James, did you get a chance to say the word 'Metallica?'" he asked, after Corden made sure to mention the band's name several times in his talk-up to the bit.
"I did just say the word 'Metallica,' I read it on the Prompter, it was fine," Corden said, explaining the second joke, which referred to the fact that Metallica's name was left out when Laverne Cox introduced their performance with Gaga on Grammy broadcast. "All you gotta do is just read it off the TelePrompter, it doesn't get much simpler than that," Ulrich joked.
The episode also found fellow guests actors Andrew Rannells and Katherine Heigl describing their history with Metallica, with Rannells recalling that he did an eighth grade science project probing the age-old question of whether music affects your pulse rate cued to the band's pummeling anthem "Enter Sandman." Heigl added that when she was on the show Roswell her co-star used to blast Metallica constantly in his trailer.
Ulrich later talked about how different it is recording a Metallica album now that the men are all members of the "parent taxi service," juggling playdates and working on their new album, Hardiwred... To Self-Destruct.