Lars Ulrich said there was no way to romanticize the way Metallica makes records, lamenting that it’s become more complex and drawn out over the years.
72 Seasons is the 11th album of the band’s 42-year career, with only three released over the past decade and a half. In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Ulrich discussed the frustrations of “fucking sitting there with 17 different versions of some connecting bridge out of the third guitar solo.”
The drummer noted that in his “20s and 30s, I was just so fucking instinctive and right. Everything we did, we never made bad decisions. Now, there’s 10 different ways of doing everything. As your experiences increase, so do the options: ‘Hey, that’s a great riff. What happens if it’s a little slower? What happens if we change the key?’ All of a sudden you’ve got seven fucking versions of this riff, and you sit and spend a day on which one’s better.”
The band’s success has contributed to the situation, he noted. “When we’re making Ride the Lightning and we’ve got to be out of the studio on Friday the 28th, there’s no option to record on the 29th, because you don’t have the money,” he said. “So the record’s done on the 28th. Nowadays, what are they going to do? Throw us out of our own studio?”
He summarized: “Making a record is just making 12,247 decisions in the space of 18 months, and you hope you’ve made more right ones than wrong ones. And even then, you won’t know for sure for another few years because you’re still high on the process. … I wish I could romanticize it and tell you that we’re sitting down and there’s a destination, but it’s basically just work. You write one song, then you write another song and eventually you’ve got an album.”
Metallica launched their M72 World Tour last week. It runs until 2024, with North American dates scheduled between August and November this year then August and September next year.