Skip to main content

Ulrich: I met Motorhead, then started Metallica

Lars explains why band’s "our hero" tribute to Lemmy was no exaggeration

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has detailed how big a part Lemmy played in his decision to form his first band.

The 70-year-old died at home in Los Angeles on December 28, two days after being told he had an aggressive form of cancer.

In an official tribute Metallica described him as “our hero” and added: “Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists.”

Now Ulrich has told how, after having seen Motorhead play on a number of occasions, he found his way into their rehearsal room in England when he was 16 years old.

He tells Rolling Stone: “I had two nights in London. When I got there, I checked in with my friend who had gotten to know Motorhead's management. He said, ‘Motorhead are rehearsing, so if you want to catch up with them, go down there and see if you can find any of them.’ It was a loose tip.

“I got down to this studio – and within half an hour I’m sitting in their room and it’s Lemmy, Phil Taylor and Eddie Clark. It was just them and me, and they’re writing songs for their next album.

“I remember they were talking about this new song called Iron Fist. This is the biggest band in England, and I’m just sitting there with them in the fucking rehearsal room writing songs for their next record. Just put that in fucking perspective.”

Ulrich continues: “There was this openness to let people into their inner circle, and it motivated me. I had met this kid, James Hetfield, about six months before – I could tell he was a super-cool guy, but nothing much came out of that interaction. 

“Later in the week after I got back, I called him up and said, ‘We’ve got to form a band together. I just hung out with Motorhead. I’m feeling it, this otherworldly calling.’

“So when I say that Lemmy is the primary reason that I’m in a band to this day, and that Metallica exists because of him, it’s not some cheap exaggeration. It really was. They took me in, they let me be a part of what they were doing, and it inspired James and I to form this band based on that attitude and that aesthetic. We were just a bunch of lost kids who wanted to belong to something that was bigger than ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet has recalled how his first encounter with Motorhead changed his life too. He says: “When I had first seen pictures of these guys, I noticed a certain authenticity about them. I imagined they lived the way they looked and looked the way they lived.

“I remember very distinctly having a realisation that it was okay to be an outsider. It was okay to not feel like I had to conform to anything that I objected to in my teenage life – because, clearly, the Motorhead guys in this picture looked like they didn't conform to anything at all, and boy, it sure looked and sounded like they were enjoying themselves as a result. So I got a lot from that pic and that massive sound and that attitude.”

From the archive

Get Involved

Trending News

Promoted

Top