Lars Ulrich Was Unaware of Metallica’s Apparent Plans to Fire Him in 1986
In the fall of 2014, Scott Ian's book I'm the Man was released and fans immediately latched on to one of the juiciest bits where the Anthrax guitarist recalled a time where he was told by members of Metallica that the band had plans to fire drummer Lars Ulrich back in 1986. Last year, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett admitted that the idea of firing Ulrich had been discussed at some point. In a new interview, Ulrich responded to this notion, stating he was unaware of the band's plans to oust him.
Ian stated in his book that he had heard that the band was planning to fire Ulrich following the Master of Puppets tour, but that the death of bassist Cliff Burton likely dissuaded them from doing so because they didn't want to lose two core members of the band in the same year.
Ulrich recently spoke with Metal Forces about the situation. He said, “It’s certainly not something that I was ever aware of, but I can tell you that there’s been other times as we’ve cruised along where there’s been some friction with this band member or that band member, and where things were a little awkward with this particular guy, or whatever."
Going on to note typical issues any band endures, Ulrich continued, “When you have a collective entity like Metallica, that’s been together for 35 years, there are different times on that journey where the idea of what to do next in a particular sticky dynamic has brought upon different options of different potential resolutions."
Stating how each member has had their low moments, the drummer said, "There were times when Kirk [Hammett] was kinda floating out there, and there were a couple of times when [James] Hetfield was kinda floating out there, and there were different times when I was kinda floating out there, so it was very possible. I’m sure Scott Ian knows something that I don’t, and I’m fine with that. It was just not something that was ever on my radar.”
Over a year after Ian's book came out, Hammett confirmed the band had indeed considered moving on without Lars around the mid '80s because they were "unhappy" with him, but cautioned that the story had been blown out of proportion. Ulrich had not even discussed Hammett's comments with him, adding, "I really don’t read interviews. I don’t know, the whole thing of 20 years ago sitting there and following what [Dave] Mustaine is saying this week in Kerrang! and what Bruce Dickinson is thinking about this and all that kinda stuff – I just don’t follow one paragraph of it anymore."
Ulrich's standing in Metallica is one that is routinely questioned by fans, typically concerning his chops behind the kit. However, some of metal's most elite drummers have come to his defense in recent months with both Joey Jordison and Mike Portnoy praising his skills. Jordison told Metal Hammer that "Lars Ulrich is probably one of the best and most innovative drummers ever." Portnoy discussed Ulrich's character and how he was blown away by the drummer's humility.
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