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Lars Ulrich: It ‘Remains To Be Seen’ Whether Metallica Can Perform Into Our 60s and 70s

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Being a drummer is very physically taxing, and being a metal drummer can be even more so. Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich turns 53 later this month. How long can the band keep going? Ulrich talked about the issue in an interview with CBC Radio One that you can watch above.

Ulrich says, “It’s the great, big unanswered question. Mentally, creatively, spiritually, aesthetically, we’ll go for another hundred years [and] we’re fine. Physically, obviously, it’s the big question.”

He adds, “I was at [recent classic rock festival] Desert Trip [featuring the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Bob Dylan and The Who], and they’re all apparently in their 70s; I didn’t fact-check that, but that’s what I was told. There was only one of the six acts that had the O.G. drummer. The other five acts had a drummer, like, in the 20s and the 30s, so that should tell you something, right?:

“Whether we can do the ‘Fight Fire’s and the ‘Battery’s and the ‘Master of Puppets’ and all that in our mid-60s and our early 70s remains to be seen,” Ulrich continues. “And there’s kind of a second part to that, which is that if… I mean, we may be able to still play them — do you know what I mean? — but whether we can bring the weight and whether we can bring the energy and whether we can bring the attitude that those songs deserve in our 60s to 70s, I have no idea. Hopefully we’ll have enough clarity to be able to tell if it’s not working, to walk away from it graciously and respectfully.”

He continues, “But right now we’re fine, and we’ve played some of our best shows in the last couple of years, and I think there’s still a bit left in the engine. But whether we can do it in our 70s, hopefully we’ll get a chance to find out.”

Ulrich also reflected on the band’s longevity, saying, “35 years later, it means a lot. I’d say that it actually means more than it used to because nowadays our eyes are wide open and we sort of take all the good energy and the good vibes in.”

“I said this to my dad the other day at Thanksgiving,” Ulrich states. “‘I’m about five years older now than you were when I thought you were old…’ The fact that we’re still making records, the fact that we’re still playing shows, big or small, that anybody shows up at, and the fact that people still care,and like you said there’s lots of good buzz around this record, so it’s a pretty awesome thing.”

Hardwired…To Self Destruct, released last month, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and topped dozens of other charts around the world. There have been rumblings about a possible 2017 North American tour, and last week it was announced Metallica will be one of the headliners at next year’s Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio.

They’ll also be playing an intimate show in Hollywood on Dec. 15 and a concert in Oakland on Dec. 17. Their 2017 calendar also includes shows in Asia, Europe and South America.

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