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METALLICA's Lars Ulrich on Drumming: "I've Never Been Interested In Ability"

"I’ve never been very interested in ability. 'Oh, wow! This guy is so great!' Yeah, he’s so great, but it doesn’t mean that he can make it work within a group or a collective."

"I’ve never been very interested in ability. 'Oh, wow! This guy is so great!' Yeah, he’s so great, but it doesn’t mean that he can make it work within a group or a collective."

Metallica were recently announced as the winners of Sweden's Polar Music Prize, or what's being dubbed the music equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition to feeling pretty great about themselves for winning, they're also given a prize of 1 million Swedish krona, or $125,000 USD, which the band has since announced they'll donate to the All Within My Hands Foundation. While they'll receive the award officially on June 14, they've sat down with the association for a series of interviews.

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In one, drummer Lars Ulrich gets to talking about his drumming style, which he says is more focused on the band and the song rather than just shredding all over the place. Sure, Ulrich has gotten his fair share of shit for his style, but he's also done quite well for himself and you all know his name. So really, who wins?

"To me, it’s always about the song. The band first—and the drums or the guitars, or whatever else is going on, is just part of the big picture. So what you always have to do is check your ego at the door and do what’s best for the song, for the music, for the overall sound.

And so to me, what’s always the most interesting to me about drumming is how do you fit the drums into what else is going on. How does it work with accents and special hits and kind of things that make it more rhythmic and dynamic and just kind of add a physicality to it.

I’ve never been very interested in ability. ‘Oh, wow! This guy is so great!’ Yeah, he’s so great, but it doesn’t mean that he can make it swing, or it doesn’t mean that he can make it work within a group or a collective.

And so to me, it’s just… For as much as I grew up on people like Ian Paice from Deep Purple—who obviously has a lot of ability; I also love people like Phil Rudd and Charlie Watts, who has… certainly ability—but I think to a lot of purists, maybe not so much because they’re not as technical.

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But they have a different kind of ability that to me is as valuable and as precious and as important in that they make it swing, they make it move, it gives it that physicality that it needs.

So I’ve always just looked at drums as more of a group instrument. I’ve never been very interested in playing drums by myself—you know sitting down in the basement and practicing drum solos for hours at a time—that’s not my thing.

So, being in a band, writing songs, making records, being part of a gang, being part of a band. That’s always fascinated me."

Now if we could only get James Hetfield to win an Oscar for his coming role in the Ted Bundy biopic.

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[via The PRP]

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