Lars Ulrich Details His Leadership Deal With James Hetfield In Metallica

In a recent interview on Club Random with Bill Maher, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich shared details about the band dynamic within Metallica and how leadership has worked from the early days to the present day. Ulrich explained that the position of leadership has alternated between him and James Hetfield.

Ulrich shared that in the early days of Metallica, he would go to the studio every day with his battle armor on. He was prepared to stand up for what he believed was the right way, and if someone suggested doing things differently, he would go into battle mode. It was like trench warfare, but after years of that approach, Ulrich realized that empathy was a word they could work with, and they definitely needed to set aside their egos.

He went on to explain that it hasn’t always been an easy journey, and it took a lot of effort to get to where they are today. The band went through a transformative experience that allowed them to see things from a different perspective and to work together in a new way. Nowadays, Ulrich and Hetfield take turns leading the way on different aspects of their music.

Lars Ulrich’s words about leadership within Metallica follow:

“I think we’ve managed to do it, but not without putting a lot of effort in. Not without you know first, you have to go to the trench warfare, and first, you have to go through the thing where for ten years every day that I would go down to the studio, I would put my battle armor on. I would go down to the studio, and I would be prepared to stand up for the one way that I believed in, you know, in me was the right way, and if somebody said, ‘How about we do it this way?’ then the battle armor would come on we would go at it.

Then you wake up on the other side of that experience that was in that movie ‘Some Kind of Monster,’ and you go, ‘Holy shit, maybe empathy is actually a word we can work with here. Maybe I can do a 180 and see.’ Of course, it’s all of it, but now in our band, yes, I’ll lead on something, I’ll lead on a song, I’ll lead on a direction, James will follow along, James will lead on something else, I’ll follow along. [I’ll say] ‘James, you take pole position on this one; I trust you, that’s the easiest way to break it down musically.'”

Metallica has been a band for over 40 years, and its longevity is a testament to its ability to work through challenges and conflicts. Their leadership model may not work for every band, but it’s clear that it has helped Metallica to create some of the most iconic music of our time, including their latest release, ’72 Seasons.’