“His drum fills are completely unique”: Billie Joe Armstrong on Lars Ulrich’s drumming

“Lars has a really unorthodox way of playing,” the Green Day frontman says.

[L-R] Billie Joe Armstrong and Lars Ulrich

Credit: Getty Images

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Lars Ulrich’s drumming has been the subject of debate for decades. Love him or hate him, though, sitting atop the drum throne for Metallica for over 40 years, you can’t argue he’s one of metal’s most commercially successful sticksmen.

Now, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has weighed in on Ulrich’s playing chops, calling him an “unorthodox” but “great” drummer.

“Lars has a really unorthodox way of playing,” Armstrong says in a new interview on The Howard Stern Show [per NME].

“I think he’s a really creative drummer. I think as far as the metal drummers of his genre, even up until now, people that were influenced by Metallica, I think there is something very studious about the way other people play.”

He continues: “But I think that the way that [he] and James Hetfield play together is so just in lock step. His drum fills are completely unique to the way Lars plays. I really dig the way Lars plays. He’s a great drummer.”

Chiming in himself, Green Day drummer Tré Cool labels Ulrich’s energy “infectious”, describing him as somewhat of a “heavy metal muppet”.

Lars Ulrich’s drumming has been criticised over the years, but never more harshly than during Metallica’s St. Anger era. That album, of course, has one of the most divisive snare sounds in rock and metal history.

Speaking on the album back in 2022, James Hetfield said: “Eh, it’s honest,” with a shrug. “You might not identify with it, or you don’t like the sound. But that’s where we were, and that’s what we put out. It’ll have its time, maybe.” He laughed. “Maybe not!”

Green Day released their 14th studio album, Saviors, on January 19, 2024 via Reprise Records.

In other news, Billie Joe Armstrong recently recalled the first time he met Eddie Van Halen, in a bizarre encounter when the guitar icon started crying and told Armstrong he was the “only one” who understood him.


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