James Hetfield reveals Lars Ulrich never rehearsed until “four or five years ago”

Ulrich tends to rehearse “four days for a two-hour set” nowadays, according to the Metallica frontman.

Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of Metallica

Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of Metallica. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

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Metallica frontman James Hetfield has revealed that Lars Ulrich never used to rehearse until “maybe four or five years ago”.

Hetfield speaks in a new episode of the band’s official podcast The Metallica Report, where he discusses their experience playing the inaugural Power Trip festival in the US. The band showed up to the Californian festival early to see the rest of the bands and pack in some extra rehearsal time, but it turns out Ulrich had spent years winging it.

“An interesting fact: Lars never rehearsed ever until – I don’t know – I’d say maybe four or five years ago, he started really getting into rehearsing,” he says [as transcribed by Blabbermouth]. “And now he’ll – I mean, he’ll rehearse four days for a two-hour set, which is what he needs to do, which is awesome.

“So there was gonna be rehearsals [for Power Trip] down at HQ [Metallica’s headquarters in San Rafael, California] for a couple days beforehand,” he continues. “And I said, ‘I’m not gonna show up guys. I would love it if we could find a rehearsal place here [closer to the Power Trip festival], ’cause I’d love to see all these other bands.’ And Robert [Trujillo] got on board, and then we found a place over here in the polo grounds [at the Empire Polo Club] to rehearse.

“And I’m grateful that Lars was up for it. So they did their rehearsals down there and then we came up and we have rehearsals and get to watch these bands. It’s so frickin’ cool to have your own compound at a festival for all the days of the festival… We show up, go rehearse and then go out there and watch Iron Maiden. I mean, how cool is that?”

“So for me, there’s a lot of inspiration in every single band that’s played here,” Hetfield adds. “Just looking up ages – I know age is bullshit. I mean, there’s plenty of the guys in these bands that are [in their] early 70s, late 60s, and it’s inspiring. And the fact that they’re up there still kicking ass in this kind of heat was fantastic. But every single one of those bands have been a part of our childhood and our upbringing in our Metallica adventure. So it’s really cool to be a part of this.

“And we used to hang out a bunch together in the early days, like at all the festivals we would go to and hang out. Yeah, we would play early on and then get to watch all the other bands after. We would hang out. It kind of felt like that again. Obviously, it was a different day, but we’re all here hanging out and it’s really fun. It’s really fun to see.

“I just kind of realized that we’re down in the very front looking up, Rob Halford riding out on a motorcycle and there’s fans behind us, looking at us, like they’re watching us enjoy that. How cool? I guess that’s pretty cool. But we’re fans at the end of the day. We wanted to be in the mix and see it. So it’s been a fantastic weekend.”

Metallica played a career-spanning 16-song set on the final day of Power Trip, closing out a festival that also saw appearances by Iron Maiden, Guns N’Roses, Tool and AC/DC, who played their first live show there in seven years.

The thrash legends set included classics like Creeping DeathFor Whom the Bell TollsEnter SandmanNothing Else MattersSad But True and Master of Puppets, as well as newer cuts including Lux Æterna and Too Far Gone?


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