In between shining a lot on some of the forgotten bands of his youth from the NWOBHM scene and sneaking in to a gig for current hardcore heroes, Turnstile, he has always kept his ear to the ground outside of heavy rock as well. from being an outspoken Oasis stan to starting to come around on liking Radiohead in recent years.
He has always had a fascination with U2, and his chance to live out his wildest dreams was actually dashed by…one of the Beatles?
When Lars was interviewing Dave Grohl during the rollout for their album Concrete and Gold, he had made mention of an exclusive party held by rock royalty, where a bunch of rock giants get invited and absolutely no cameras were allowed.
This included a bunch of drinks and musicians hanging out, so it was only a matter of time before people found themselves onstage. Once Lars made his way to the stage, he talked about seeing Bono and the Edge playing what sounded like a newer song from their catalog, and Lars knew he had to relish the moment while he could.
He had started to make a B-line for the stage when Paul McCartney actually came up a few paces ahead of him, beating Lars to the punch and rocking out with Dublin’s finest instead. While Paul has been known to lay down a drum groove on his own album from time to time, it would have been a much different story with Lars up there, bringing a much heavier groove than the pop rock stylings of Sir Paul.
Here’s what happened in Lars’s own words:
“I don’t want to interrupt you, but I’ll tell a really quick story. I was, and I don’t want to give too much away in case the guilty parties get offended, but our friend who hosts a party every year in the end of February- he had another party that I went to like a year and a half ago. I don’t think you were there, but it was like a birthday party or something and so they had all this equipment set up at the backyard and they were encouraging all these people to play together.
So Bono and The Edge go up and start playing right there – playing one song from the new [U2] album. And there was a drum kit up there and there’s a bass and I’m like this is my chance to drum with U2- Bono and The Edge. And I’m like start to building up the courage.
I’m standing at the back hoping nobody will see me and I’m just like OKAY I’m fucking 15 seconds away from walking, I’m 10 seconds away. I think I can hear the beat and I’m just like OKAY I’m gonna start walking up. And RIGHT as I start walking up, this other guy is like five feet ahead of me and walks up and I can’t see who it is.
And then he goes up and sits behind the drum kit up there. And it’s Paul McCartney! And I said wait a minute motherfucker! I’m supposed to play drums in U2. I like ran screaming out of there and haven’t been back since but I was like, he’s a great drummer.”
The thought of Lars still geeking out about another band while already being in the biggest metal band in the world says a lot more about him than most fans probably realize. Outside of all the Napster controversies and thousands of mistakes both on and off the stage, Lars has never stopped being a fan of music along the way.
Watch Lars Ulrich Explain How Paul McCartney ‘Snubbed’ Him: