If someone asked you which drummer you think gets the most hate, there’s a good chance you’d say Lars Ulrich. Drummers already get the butt end of the stick when it comes to musician jokes, but people love to hate on Lars, and Ash Pearson is here to ask Ulrich-haters to reconsider. Here are six reasons to love the drummer of Metallica, one of the biggest bands in the world:
Could you imagine the drums on Metallica songs, especially for their classic albums, being played any other way? For example, his fills in “Sad But True” are perfect for the song and they’re instantly recognizable. Lars has great composition sensibilities and has been one of the arrangers for the band.
You can’t deny that Lars has inspired musicians for decades. Most of today’s metal musicians probably looked up to bands like Metallica, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath at some point. Metallica, and drummers like Lars, are high on most drummers’ lists for bands they’re inspired by (yes, this even includes many modern death metal drummers).
Most drummers have a ride cymbal in their kit, but not Lars – and he hasn’t for a long time. It’s a pretty daring move for a drummer to remove such a classic component. He’s explained that it’s because he doesn’t like the ping of a ride cymbal and prefers cymbals he can crash on.
Contrary to the popular criticism, Lars is more than a one trick pony, and he proves that by playing many different types of feels, beats, and tempos. Listen to his double bass runs in “Dyers Eve” and “Blackened”, thrash beats in “Disposable Heroes”, and slow ballad style playing in “Nothing Else Matters.” He brings a lot of cool stuff to the table and has never been afraid to experiment, which is often something you have to do in music to strike gold.
You shouldn’t pull out all the chops just because you can. Instead of playing complicated, crazy fills, he writes what works best for the song. Lars makes careful choices, sometimes opting to just hit the snare drum a few times to pull out the tension in a slow roll. Less is often more, and can sound more powerful than a part with a ton of notes. It’s easier to air drum along to, too!
You can’t really have a conversation about Metallica without mentioning his name. Whether it’s his outrageous stage antics, his stance on music downloading services like Napster (revolutionary at the time) or how entertaining he is in videos, Lars has a larger-than-life persona and it’s impossible to separate him from Metallica. His personality gets you talking about the band and it’s part of the lore.
What do you think? Does Lars deserve the negativity he gets, or does he deserve more praise?
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