When Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was a boy, his father took him to his first-ever rock concert. It was a life-changing experience that made Ulrich determined to follow in their footsteps, and they remain his favourite band.
For over 40 years, he’s been at the helm of Metallica and, as an engineer over his prized V12, making sure that everything is ticking over perfectly. As a child, drumming was never his passion, and instead, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a professional tennis player. However, one concert and band would make him reflect on his life choices.
At 17, he moved from the rural Gentofte in Denmark to bustling Los Angeles to follow his athletic dreams, but he secretly harboured ambitions to become a drummer, and Metallica would soon be born.
His love affair with music dates back to a concert in 1973 in Copenhagen at the K.B. Hallen when he witnessed Deep Purple in action. Ulrich’s father was famous in their native land, and the full red carpet treatment was rolled out for the pair. Having a bird’s eye view of Deep Purple made Ulrich become fixated with the group, and even now, no group in the world matters to him as much as them.
In 2016, he even had the ultimate honour of inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During his speech, Ulrich explained: “This night is a culmination of two musical journeys. One is mine, the other is that of a band that changed my life and rock and roll. When I was nine years old, my dad took me to see Deep Purple on a cold day in Denmark, on a dark cold Saturday night in February 1973.
He continued: “Everything was larger than life, the sound the spectacle, the songs, the musicians, all doing things with their instruments that I had never seen before – and didn’t even know was possible.”
That night remains one of the most important in his entire life, and Deep Purple’s magnificence on stage has been something that he’s tried to replicate with Metallica. “It all came together for Deep Purple with the five of them on stage,” he once told Rolling Stone. “When you see the video footage, you can see they’re all playing off each other. You know when Blackmore’s done soloing, he raises his right hand, that’s the signal for the drummer, Ian Paice, to come into the next part.”
Additionally, when Ulrich was asked to name his dream festival line-up, Deep Purple were one of the six names which left his lips. He again used this opportunity to talk up their show in Copenhagen: “They were on fire, they were otherworldly.”
Watch Ulrich induct Deep Purple into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame below.