Lars Ulrich Discusses Metallica’s Denial To Retire Despite Not Being Mainstream Anymore

During a conversation with Rolling Stone, Lars Ulrich recently opened up about Metallica’s position in the current musical landscape and their recent endeavors, reflecting on their unwillingness to retire despite their peers.

In the wake of their 40th anniversary and the release of their latest album, ’72 Seasons,’ Ulrich spoke about Metallica’s enduring relevance and approach to music-making. When asked about their decision to continue making new music, Ulrich highlighted their need for creativity even if no one heard their music:

“Putting new music out these days is always challenging and a bit of a crapshoot because there are always questions about, ‘What does it mean?’ and who’s actually listening to it. I think we’re very at ease with the fact that we need to write music; we need to make records for our own sanity, for our own well-being, for our own existence, really. It will always be a significant part of who we are as people.

I know there are a lot of artists who have been around for a while who are questioning the validity or the relevance of making new albums. But I believe that even if zero people heard the music, it’s hard to believe that we wouldn’t record. There’s a need to be creative.”

Metallica’s ability to maintain a fast pace in songs, especially evident in ‘Lux Æterna’ and ‘Too Far Gone?’ sets them apart from many artists of their generation. In response to this observation, Ulrich stressed the importance of staying in shape and also expressed the band’s enthusiasm for playing songs from ’72 Seasons’ live:

“Overall, we’re in better shape than we’ve been in for a while. Obviously, the physicality of the music has always demanded a lot, and there are different times when you feel you’re more on top of that than at other times. Speaking for myself, when we started gigging again after pandemic lockdowns, I realized that staying in shape, staying healthy, and staying on top of ‘lifestyle choices’ are the biggest contributions to physicality that can be made.

Playing these songs live is super fun. We’re steering them, they’re not steering us. Certain people choose not to go down particular creative paths if a song can’t be performed live. We’ve done eight out of 12 songs so far, and we’ve figured out how to crack all of them in a live situation and feel really good about it.”

The past year has seen a steady stream of releases from Metallica, starting with the single ‘Lux Æterna‘ on November 28, 2022. This was followed by ‘Screaming Suicide’ and ‘If Darkness Had a Son’ in early 2023. Additionally, a music video for the title track, ’72 Seasons,’ was released on March 30, 2023, leading up to the album’s full release on April 14, 2023.

Addressing the contemporary music landscape on the podcast ‘SmartLess,’ Ulrich revealed that the only condition that might make Metallica consider retirement would be if they were prevented from writing or creating new records. This, he emphasized, was because making music is an essential part of their identities.

Metallica is currently on their M72 tour, playing songs from their new album around the globe. They are now getting ready to headline the Power Trip Festival on October 8. You can get your tickets for Metallica’s upcoming shows here.