Lars Ulrich: How Grunge Changed Metallica

Drummer Lars Ulrich talked about the impact grunge made on Metallica back in the day, telling 92Y when asked whether the movement's explosion "stressed you guys out," to which he replied:

metallica grunge

“No. It was inspiring, more than anything.

“The good thing about Metallica is that we’ve always felt completely autonomous.

“We’ve never felt that we’ve belonged to anything. So the good thing is – we never feel we belong to anything and when all these other things are going on, we still feel that we’re just kind of over in our own world.

“And when that thing dissipates and goes away – we were never part of it. We’re just kind of over here doing our thing.

“I loved Alice in Chains, those first two records never left my CD player in ’91-’92. When I think of 1992 all I heard was that ‘Dirt’ album.

“I loved Nirvana, the first couple of Soundgarden records – that was inspiring.

“No, there was nothing threatening about that at all.”

Still talking about the importance of being autonomous, Ulrich focused on Metallica recovering the ownerships of all their master tapes, saying:

“Cliff [Burnstein] and Peter [Mensch] were smart enough to anticipate that the primary carrot at the end of that journey of the first 20 years was the masters. The masters, the recording tapes, the records.

“So if you can get the ownership of your own records – and I know it sounds a little odd, people go, ‘Who owned them before?’

“The record companies owned them. The record companies basically gave you money to make a record, then they own the record and then they owned them sort of in perpetuity.

“So Peter and Cliff said, ‘Let’s go and get our masters back.’ And at that time there was really nobody [who owned their masters] – maybe Springsteen, Prince, artists at that level – but that was what we went for.

“And lo and behold, we ended up getting our masters back. So when Metallica became our own record company, five or seven years ago, all of the sudden our whole business model changed because we now have to sort of run all this ourselves.

“So we have set up in Northern California and have a lot more people in Northern California than we used to, a lot of people that live under the umbrella of what we call HQ.

“That’s our record company and our touring entity and some management stuff. From a business point of view it sort of fits in with the way everything else does, which is the word ‘autonomy.’

“We try to be free, we try to be autonomous, we try to make decisions not based on anything other than what’s right for Metallica and for how we see our own path.”


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