When I saw Some Kind Of Monster, I was shocked to find Lars Ulrich the most sympathetic member of Metallica. With James Hetfield busy trying not to turn into The Hulk and Kirk Hammett fulfilling the “luke-warm water” role a little too well, Lars was the only member aggressively invested in making a frikkin’ Metallica record. Sure, St. Anger sucked, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort on his part. His recent Rolling Stone interview, however, reminds us that when taken out of a real-life Spinal Tap context, Ulrich’s enthusiasm can be a bit more annoying. Seems Dave Mustaine’s little Danish friend has come around on downloading. After all, if new Metallica songs were free, maybe people would be excited about them.
We have FLACs and MP3s for sale. It was never about downloading per se. We have the Vault where you can download shows from twenty years ago for free, full-on and it’s been there for years. You can download recent shows days after they happen for cost. Back in the day there was a much bigger question about “on whose terms?” We said, “Wait a minute, it should be about the artist.” Then all hell broke loose and we sat on the sidelines for a while. We’ve always been fiercely independent and controlling; sometimes to a fault. That’s why we exist and why all these people show up.
You know, this is our last record under contract with Warner, so we’re looking at how we can embrace everything…We want to be as free a players as possible. We’ve been observing Radiohead and Trent Reznor and in twenty-seven years or however long it takes for the next record, we’ll be looking forward to everything in terms of possibilities with the Internet.
Phrases like “twenty-seven years” and “a chance to re-invent the wheel again” would imply that Metallica still has no idea how to refind that mass-cult pleasing muse. But for a forty-something drummer to admit that the state of metal shows “a resurgence way deeper and more penetrating into the fourteen-year-old mindset?” You have to love the guy.
Oh wait, no you don’t.