He was born in Denmark and grew up with a tennis background, but Metallica's Lars Ulrich made a baseball reference when talking about the progress of a new studio album. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ulrich says, "Right now, we're in the fourth inning."

As far as the band's process in putting things together, Ulrich says, "We're going through the grind. We're in there doing riffs and putting them into songs. We don't really write one song and then show up the next day and do another one. We just work on riffs and sections, connecting riffs and tempos and moods."

In addition to working on the album, Metallica are in the midst of their 'By Request' tour. After wrapping up the South American leg last month, they took some time off, but Ulrich says they plan to get together this month and talk about who will produce the album: "We haven't started recording yet. But we are deep into the songwriting part of it."

The 'By Request' tour set list consists of one new song, 'Lords of Summer,' with the rest voted on by the fans. They have been picking a lot of the band's biggest hits, but Metallica might be playing a more obscure track during the next show in Finland on May 28.

"It looks like when we play Helsinki in May we'll be playing a song called 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity' from '…And Justice for All,'" says Ulrich. "We're really excited about that. Also, 'St. Anger' was really big in Germany, so we'll get to play some of the songs there. That's going to be really fun. We want to mix it up as much as possible."

Prior to the European leg of the 'By Request' tour, Metallica will play at the Musicares MAP Fund Benefit concert in Los Angeles on May 12 and frontman James Hetfield will be part of the Acoustic 4 a Cure show in San Francisco on May 15. Then, on May 16, they'll take part in 'Metallica Night' at the San Francisco Giants game. It all comes back to baseball!