Throughout the years, some within the metal community have talked smack about Lars Ulrich‘s drumming; although he is one of the biggest names in heavy metal, the Metallica member has gotten a lot of shit, with some folks claiming that Ulrich is lacking as a drummer.
That said, one person who intensely stands by Ulrich’s drum skills is none other than ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. During a recent appearance on the Let There Be Talk podcast, Newsted not only defends Ulrich’s drumming but also says that if it weren’t for Ulrich there’s “no way Metallica would be what they were.” In response to those who dismiss Ulrich as an “average drummer,” and say that there are lesser-known drummers who can provide stronger performances than him, Newsted says (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):
“Anybody that says that is a fucking idiot. They have no idea what they’re talking about. The depth of this guy, his foresight, his comprehension of what the hell was going on when he was 21, 22, 23. Seriously?
“So if he can’t play the same fill as Dave Lombardo or whoever the fuck you pick for today, so what? Look at the scoreboard, motherfucker. Do not talk shit about that guy. He’s way ahead of you in most things, I promise you that — I promise you.
“If we wouldn’t have had him and his ability to anticipate, to predict, to know geography, to understand what country and what city and what did what at what time and all this stuff, no way Metallica would be what they were. No way! So you need to get ahold of yourselves because there’s way more to it than just being able to hit a snare drum.”
Newsted goes on to add: “The demand [on the musicians] back when Jimi Hendrix was playing and Black Sabbath started touring or whatever, the band came out, smoked some hash, played the songs, got paid a little bit, had some beers, chased a girl, went on their way. That filled their whole plate. There was a ‘Paranoid’ video that they agreed to do for one second; they put a bunch of oil behind them or whatever. That [would have taken no more than] a couple of hours in his day.
“Now, or even — shit — 20-something years ago, or 30 perhaps, that much of the plate right there would be filled with the things we just spoke of: you learned your instrument, you played in tune, you tried to sing, you remember what’s coming next and memorize your shit. And then this chunk is the videos, and then this chunk is the interviews, and then that chunk is that thing, then that chunk is that thing, that chunk is meetings, that chunk is lawyers, that chunk is depositions. And then you’ve got that time for your wife. That’s what’s real.
“So if anybody wants to talk about, ‘Oh, yeah, I got this. I could do that. Could you? Could you, really? I don’t think so, man.”
Do you agree with Jason Newsted? Does Lars Ulrich deserve more credit for being a talented drummer?