In four years, Metallica's Kill 'Em All will turn 40 years old. The band's members at that point will be either 60 or very close to it. In an interview with Pollstar, drummer Lars Ulrich says he hopes the band can keep going in their "early-to-mid-70s and then as long as we can keep going without, you know, falling prey to the physical ailments." When asked if he thinks the band can really keep up their touring schedule and making music at that age, he says it all comes down to physical health.
Ulrich adds that he believes mentally he'll still want to continue, but y'know, being in your 70s does come with some physical limitations.
"I'm pretty sure that the notion of us playing or functioning when we're 76 mentally is not a stretch at all. In terms of the desire to want to play music, connect with each other, connect with the fans and take Metallica music, I think that we can, definitely. I mean, obviously, you know, sanity/insanity aside — which some could argue is certainly a part of what we do. But I'm not worried about that side of this. I think that we'll always be inspired.
"We'll always get an incredible joy out of playing music, sharing it with people will always have incredible respect for the audience and will always feel that. Playing is something that keeps us alive. Obviously, the physical part of it is the big unknown. So when you look into the future, when you look into the pipeline, who knows what that will look like?
"And if I don't want to be disrespectful to the Charlie Wattses of the world or whatever. But yeah, you know, obviously playing 'Master Of Puppets' or 'Fight Fire With Fire' or 'Battery' or any of these songs, maybe has a slightly different demand.
"I just don't know — I don't know how long it can go. We'll see. But we're taking precautions — or cautions is the right word — but we've found these bound balances for us. So right now playing 50 shows a year is good, but we could play 50 shows every year rather than play 50 shows one year and then not play any the next year. But 50 shows a year is really good for us. We play them in two-week increments. And that works really well. We go out, we play our ass off a couple of weeks and we get all beat up and banged up and burned out, and then we'd go home and then we recharge the batteries for two, three weeks and then we go out and do it again. That model works for us.
"I think that we've got a couple of guys out here that are taking care of the physical elements and stretching us and stitching us back together after the show. And, you know, we spoil ourselves with a chef that cooks good, healthy food. So we invest a lot of resources and time into trying to make the physical experience as kindly as possible.
"So hopefully there's a few years left in the tank, physically. Like I said, I'm not worried about the mental side of it now."
I love the idea that Metallica has a chef. In all seriousness though, I think sounding great at an older age is 100% doable. Look at Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford! Dude just turned 68 years old and sounds the best he's ever sounded.