Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has long been the online punching bag for those trying to make a quick joke about drums. Dude has certainly had his rough patches live, but by no means should any musician who knows the first thing about drumming be dunking on Lars – the man is incredible.

So how’s Metallica frontman James Hetfield feeling about Ulrich‘s performances these days? In a new interview with The Metallica Report, Hetfield only had praise for Ulrich after being asked if Ulrich was “playing some of the best gigs he’s played in well over a decade, if not 20 years.”

“I’d say this tour in general, the last two years, we’ve been building up to it. Absolutely. Absolutely playing great,” he said.

Hetfield then continued: “I hope he’s having fun and [isn’t] worried about his playing, because he would let his emotions just take him. Now he’s a little more concerned about the click track and playing along with it, being solid. But yeah, I think as a group, we are all playing really, really great. Really tight.

“And it doesn’t scare me, but I don’t mind fucking things up. It’s fun. There’s still mistakes — or not mistakes, but there’s still unique moments that happen, and it’s good. We don’t want to be that frickin’ polished machine up there at all. So no matter how practiced, no matter how good we think we’re doing, there’s still stuff that happens.”

In a 2023 interview with The Metallica Report, Hetfield talked about being inspired by the other bands at the Power Trip festival and revealing that drummer Lars Ulrich really only started rehearsing with Metallica about four or five years ago.

“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,” said Hetfield. “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 for a couple days beforehand. And I said, ‘I’m not gonna show up guys. I would love it if we could find a rehearsal place here [closer to Power Trip], ’cause I’d love to see all these other bands.’ And Robert got on board, and then we found a place over here in the polo grounds 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?”

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