Here's Metallica's Key to Longevity, According to Lars Ulrich

Ross Halfin


Metallica has been a mainstay of rock music since the early 1980s, but what is the key to decades-long success?

Lars Ulrich gave his thoughts during a wide-ranging interview on Thursday (Sept. 3) with Zane Lowe on Apple Music. "So obviously you know, in all seriousness, that we wear our age proud and yes, we are hitting 40 as a band next year," he explained. "I think for the last few weeks as I've heard myself talk about the state of Metallica, the state of the world, and this next record. Just so much of our energy and our focus is always in the future. Sometimes even too much in the future where I'd say sometimes it feels like you should pay more attention to the present. But the one place we spend the least amount of time is in the past."

"Obviously in interviews, we will talk about the past and when asked about choices or things from the past, what happened, to answer them," he continued. "But when we are a creative unit, when we are a creative entity, and when we sort of do what we do, it's always about the future. It's always about the next album, the possibilities, and what else we can do to connect with each other and the fans in the future. And I think that somehow just keeps it youthful, keeps the energy useful youthful. We're not sitting, 'Oh, well, back then when ...' We always look ahead and I think it's dawning upon me that it's an increasing part of keeping the aura and the band youthful and the energy youthful."

So is Metallica thinking of a new album? "Between you and I and nobody else, we have a call at two o'clock today, the four of us, to talk about what's next, after spending the two weeks in the bubble and having the best time ever reconnecting," Ulrich replied. "We're looking forward to what's next. We've spent a few of the summer months trading riffs, trading ideas, throwing creative thoughts back and forth through Zoom calls and through other technologies. We're looking forward to getting to it, lots of material to share with the world. And it's just a matter of the practicals and being able to sort of figure out how to get it going as quick as possible.
We are trying to find any possible ways to connect with our fans and with the Metallica family. And I think that a positive coming out of these five dark months is that it's forcing you to just rethink what you know and what we're so used to. So a new world order calls for new experimental times and shenanigans. So let's see how it plays out."

"The reason that I can sit here, and I can sit here and talk about 40 years of Metallica, is because very early on, we realized that the unity and the collective of the four of us is stronger than any of us individually," he noted. "And in order for us to stay strong, we have to stay respectful, connected, and we have to support each other. So you support each other through-The positive and the non-positive. And so it's part of the ride. Ultimately, I'm really f-king proud of it."

Listen to the full interview below.