Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has questioned whether the band can continue into their seventies like The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and The Who.
The heavy metal powerhouses are currently touring the globe on their sprawling WorldWired Tour and, as James Hetfield revealed to Planet Rock last year, they have taken measures to make sure they’re at their best on stage.
“At our age – 53 – our mind, body and spirit can only do so much so we’re gonna pace ourselves so we can be 110% (at) every show,” James told Paul Anthony. “Two weeks at a time, day on, day off – that’s what it takes for us to feel good and running on all cylinders.”
Now, in an interview with Forbes, Lars Ulrich has said “there is a weight and physicality that’s needed” to play their music live and he’s unsure it’s feasible in twenty years’ time.
“At this age (performing live) certainly doesn’t get any easier and there’s a whole army of people that are propping us up and stitching us together so we can get up onstage and do what we do,” Lars said.
“If you’d said to me thirty years ago that I’d still be playing songs like ‘Fire With Fire’ and ‘Battery’ at 52 years old I would have probably looked at you in disbelief.
“But there’s certainly a change in lifestyle in terms of being responsible, getting good sleep, eating healthy and working out every day, stretching and all that type of stuff. I just couldn’t go up on stage without a serious prep.”
Questioned whether he believes it’s more difficult for bands who play “harder music” to achieve longevity, Lars responded: “It’s a hard thing.
“God bless all those guys (The Rolling Stones and The Who) and much love and respect to all of them and obviously, who else are we going to look to other than the Who and the Stones and the Neil Young’s of the world?
“Somebody told me the other day Queen’s Brian May is knocking on 70, Sammy Hagar is knocking on 70, Paul McCartney, I just read an interview with him yesterday, he’s close to 75 or something.
“What they do is very inspiring, but the physicality of it is at a different level than what we do and it’s still a guessing game. There are a lot of jazz drummers, Max Roach, these guys all got to live very long, healthy lives and play drums well into their 80s. I just don’t know if the type of stuff that we do can happen when we’re in our 70s.
“I would like to find out, but I also have diligence and enough self-critical awareness to know if it’s not working to sort of walk away from it because there is a weight and physicality that’s needed to push these songs to where they need to go. And maybe that’s not gonna happen 20 years from now.”
“But I’d love to find out and I’d love to be healthy enough to make the decision, ultimately, myself rather than have injury or something else sideline me.”
Lars also added that Metallica now appreciate performing live more than they did in their younger years.
“Rock and roll becomes almost like a hobby or an escape,” he explained. “So when we go off and do tours like we’re doing, where we’re playing to 50 or 60,000 people in stadiums every night across America it’s kind of a mind f--k that we can still do it and people still show up.
“And I can guarantee you my eyes are way more open and way more taking it all in and harnessing every moment that they were 20 years ago, where most of the time I was just thinking about getting back to the hotel bar or whatever.”
Metallica play five completely sold out UK shows this October taking in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham. Support at all shows comes from Norwegian heavy metallers Kvelertak.