Lars Ulrich

Mukund

Senior Member
Hey everyone
How would u rate lars- overated,mediocre,underrated

and if u get a chance to be him
will u?
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I was a teenager in the 80's so he definitely was a huge influence on me. I never really tried to play like him, but I liked his drumming. After the Black Album I didn't pay too much attention to Metatllica, my musical tastes had changed a little, I grew up a little. I've never thought about his drumming being bad, but my uncle (the drummer) sure did. He was always bagging on Lars drumming. I think he was a little jealous of Lars. It wasn't until I started reading this forum and a few opinions online that I started to realize that many people besides my uncle have this beef with Lars drumming. But then again, theirs a lot of love out there for the guy too and he has been a huge part of the Metallica sounds all these years. Sure, they ran out of hit songs, but who doesn't eventually? Tony Bennett?
 

Netz Ausg

Silver Member
+1 on that. Lars did/does what obviously worked with the music. Metallica were the band that got me drumming and I learned to play by watching him (Enter Sandman was the first song I played). Don't get me wrong, I've watched and learned from a multitude of other drummer since, but he was pivotal in getting me playing the drums and enjoying it.

Best drummer? No

Does it matter? No!
 

Tyger

Senior Member
Agreed, I love Lars, he's great at what he does and could shed with any of the other big boys. Being part of the whole Metallica journey, I give him the utmost respect being part of music history.
 
Lars is a drummer who plays for the song. He had a great contribution to metal drumming parts.
No, I am (I´m me) and I like "For Whom The Bell Tolls".
 

Arky

Platinum Member
When listening to Metallica it never appeared to me that Lars' playing is weak in any respect. It just perfectly matched the songs. (I haven't been listening to them for quite a while now, and the last album I know entirely is their Black Album. No expert on their newer stuff.)

IMO it's pretty pointless to pick Lars out and compare him to any other drummer and point of 'weaknesses' [EDIT: and point out 'weaknesses'] because those 'better' drummers aren't playing with Metallica. Very simple. If they did then Metallica would have sounded differently and things might have evolved differently, too, with possibly less overall success for the band. Lars contributed to the overall Metallica sound. So why take away from what he helped achieving?

As to the thread question: I think he is "overhated", haha.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
the drumming on albums like Puppets, Justice, and Ride are great

they influenced me greatly as a kid

Lars is a great drummer for Metallica but not so good as far as a drummers drummer

he started to become a bit exposed when the band started to get away from a style he was comfortable with quite obviously

but he was the business mind behind Metallica and it's very likely none of us would know who they were if they had another drummer
 

Arky

Platinum Member
+1 :)

Great point, which many of us forget while playing in our basements only dreaming.
+1

I've learned a valuable lesson but it took me a while. In the 90's I was learning lots of Metallica and Iron Maiden songs on the el. guitar. As soon as I learned a new song (or solos) I thought: So what - nothing special or too complicated, I can play that. Years later I realised that it's not about whether I could play it but that actually someone came up with that cool material. Now THAT's the crucial point - to be creative and create 'good' music. And not judging musicians/bands by merely technical parameters. From that day on I've been judging music from a different perspective and ultimately, with more respect.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
To see how Lars fits in, you have to look at the historical perspective.

As I've written before, How people view Lars tends to fall into one of two categories

1) Those were teenagers (or older) in the 80s who discovered Lars in the 80s, and remember Lars playing things that no one else was doing at the time (at least not in a way most people could see/hear). his raw speed on the first 4 Metallica albums was a relatively new concept at the time. While drummers had been using double bass for years, most used it for quads, shuffles, or just double bass roles. Lars came along and played all sorts of broken triplet patterns, syncopations, and quick rolls that no one else was playing on albums at the time. Playing thrash in 7/4 and 5/4 and all the crazy time signature changes on "And Justice For All" was ground breaking.
The first time "One" was played on MTV was a monumental occasion, as many of us had never heard someone play double bass like that ever before.

2) Those who were teenagers in the 90's or later, who only saw Lars simplify his playing, while thousands upon thousands of drummers learned every Lars Ulrich trick and then improved upon it many times over, while Lars himself stopped trying to improve himself, apparently went backwards in ability.

What many people don't realize is yes, today they can turn on MTV or youtube or whatever and find 1,000,001 players who can do insane things with double bass than Lars couldn't do in his wildest dreams. But 20 years ago those other players didn't exist, and there was no youtube to watch them on.

While Lars was "the guy" (with a handful of others) who was doing it, and actually selling records, and putting himself in places where people could see and hear him. Most of these modern players wouldn't be playing what they play if Lars had not set the ground work first and been around to be copied and improved upon.

I clearly remember that night in 1988. I had graduated high school. I was working part time at a drum shop. I came home from work, had dinner, did whatever, and turned on MTV. The world premier of "One" came on. I was floored. I had never seen anyone use double bass like that before. The sheer epic-ness, the sheer power. I ran out and bought the album.

And holy cow, what an album at the time. They're playing thrash in 7/4. They're throwing in bars of 5/4 into the mix. Lars is going over the bar line, then playing a fill to land back on the 1. It was complex, powerful, epic, raw and refined at the same time.



Muck like in jazz, a lot of the early pioneers like Zutty Singleton and Cozy Cole are often forgotten in favor of the 2nd and 3rd generation jazz of players who took everything the early guys did and improved it, and used better recording technology to make more people aware that they could play they way they do. (and no, I'm not comparing Lars to jazz legends). Lars laid a lot of ground work for others to build upon, and as others built upon his ground work, fewer and fewer people remember that it was his ground work, because it doesn't compare to what has come since then.

And sadly, over the years, Lars hasn't kept up his skills, further diminishing his reputation in drummer history.

I remember looking at Lars as a major inspiration for what could be done on the drum kit.

Do I look at him the same way now? Of course not. But that doesn't discount what he did in the past.


And Arky is 100% that it's pretty pointless to pick Lars out and compare him to any other drummer and point of 'weaknesses' because those 'better' drummers are not only NOT playing with Metallica, but Lars founded the band with James, co-leads the band, and co-writes almost all of the music. You can't say Metallica would be better/worse with different drummers, because if there was a different drummer, Metallica wouldn't exist to begin with.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
DED's thoughts on this issue seem to align with my own every time this topic comes up.

Over rated, under rated.....it makes no difference to me. I enjoyed listening to those early Metallica albums immensely.....still do. What more does Lars have to do than make for an enjoyable listening experience. I'd argue he's done his job on that front.

It's fair to say that as a young metal fan in Melbourne Australia in the mid 80's, to us no-one had a greater impact on metal drumming than Lars Ulrich and Dave Lombardo. It's such a shame to see Lars body of work with a great band diminished purely due to the fact that the genre has progressed and others have come along and raised the bar. Can only hope the kids in 20 years time have a greater understanding of what came before and we don't see the same thing happen to Carey, Adler etc.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
As soon as I learned a new song (or solos) I thought: So what - nothing special or too complicated, I can play that. Years later I realised that it's not about whether I could play it but that actually someone came up with that cool material ...
This. There are a lot of players in the rock idiom where this is true.

And sadly, over the years, Lars hasn't kept up his skills, further diminishing his reputation in drummer history.

Do I look at him the same way now? Of course not. But that doesn't discount what he did in the past.
This is a fairly common theme among rock drummers, maybe all drummers ... perhaps even a feature of human nature existing everywhere else outside of drumming and music.

Over rated, under rated.....it makes no difference to me.
There's another concept I've been giving extra consideration toward recently. What exactly is overrated or underrated? As Arky mentioned when considering only the technical parameters; you can easily miss the crux of a player's impact if that's all you're looking at. I think this is true for Lars, Ringo, Moonie, Peart, Bonham, etc. The list goes on and on.

Lars made his mark. Perhaps if he would've died right after "...And Justice For All" we wouldn't be focusing on his decline as much as we'd be speculating on how awesome he surely would have been had he lived.

You could just as easily apply this to Moonie or Bonham.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I am not a fan of the music number one, but from what I have heard it isn't that complicated, so the drumming, if he indeed does play to the music would also not be to difficult. But that's me. Would I be him. No. Why would I? I would then have to play in a band that plays music I don't like.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
To me, Metallica started the new style of metal and from there the genre stopped being enjoyable for me.

I do like Sandman and Nothing Else Matters, which probably says it all ***warning!! old fart alert!!***

The tracks I've heard of theirs have strong drumming. I'd never understood why people kept saying he was terrible.

Claiming that a musician on the world stage is hopeless is a luxury that fans and geniuses can afford - rock and pop musicians playing local venues can't say that without appearing childish and/or delusional.
 

Obzen

Member
As everyone else said, his early drumming was pretty good and pioneered a new style of drumming.

But I don't understand how someone could not progress at all in 25ish years.... I've worked effing hard over the past 10 years and I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but I'm actually excited about how much of an amazing drummer I'll be once I have 30 years under my belt... I just can't comprehend or understand not becoming amazing in that amount of time.

Would I want to be him? Hmm, no. I would want to be someone far lesser known, but far better of a drummer.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I am not a fan of the music number one, but from what I have heard it isn't that complicated, so the drumming, if he indeed does play to the music would also not be to difficult. But that's me. Would I be him. No. Why would I? I would then have to play in a band that plays music I don't like.

why do so many around here equate how difficult something is to play with how good a drummer is?

Im not defending Lars, I think he is fine and has done exactly what is needed for Metallica, I think there is very nice drumming on Master of Puppets and ...and justice for all

Justice in particular would be Lars most tricked out playing if has ever played any, great metal record

but I see this all the time on these boards and really think it is quite ridiculous
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
But I don't understand how someone could not progress at all in 25ish years.... I've worked effing hard over the past 10 years and I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but I'm actually excited about how much of an amazing drummer I'll be once I have 30 years under my belt... I just can't comprehend or understand not becoming amazing in that amount of time.
Easy. Some people have that laser-like focus going on when they're young and hungry, but once fame and treasure comes into the picture, suddenly there are all these other shiny objects diverting your attention (girls, yachts, etc), and maybe drumming isn't as interesting as it used to be, especially when it becomes your "day job".
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Lars made his mark. Perhaps if he would've died right after "...And Justice For All" we wouldn't be focusing on his decline as much as we'd be speculating on how awesome he surely would have been had he lived. .
Good Point Mike.

I am not a fan of the music number one, but from what I have heard it isn't that complicated, so the drumming, if he indeed does play to the music would also not be to difficult. But that's me. Would I be him. No. Why would I? I would then have to play in a band that plays music I don't like.
The stuff on the radio tends to be the songs that have the simple parts. There are songs from before they became "radio friendly" that aren't nearly as simple.
Unless you think playing in 5, 7, etc fills going over the bar line, and highly syncopated double bass patterns are not complicated.

I'd never understood why people kept saying he was terrible.
There are some live clips floating around youtube where he is rather underwhelming, and plays like he's not even taking his own performance seriously. For a period of time, he also started simplifying his own parts to the older stuff, which fueled speculation that he either couldn't, or didn't care to, play his own parts anymore.

..


The other internet flap was over a song "Dyers Eve" on the And Justice for All album. It contains an extremely fast double bass part. Well, thousands of kids went home, practiced it, learned it, got it down, and then played similar parts on thousands of other metal records, and it came out that Lars never played the song begging to end, and he had actually recorded it in sections, and further, the band rarely plays the long live due it's difficulty. Which lead to millions of kids saying, "well so-and-so can play that part, and Lars can't, that must mean Lars sucks. " without ever really looking at it objectively.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
..........when considering only the technical parameters; you can easily miss the crux of a player's impact if that's all you're looking at.
I agree. Too many look for sheer virtuosity in a player I think. Not everyone is that type of player, nor is everyone called to be. Ultimately I think musicianship must trump a players technical prowess, surely? A band is the sum of many parts, the drums are just one of them. If that drummer lays down a solid foundation for the music to launch off, then he's done his job IMHO......regardless of how fast his feet are or how many triple ratamacues he can shove into a fill. Sure it can be exciting and it certainly entertains a drum forum, but is impressing other drummers really the ultimate goal?

But I don't understand how someone could not progress at all in 25ish years....
It's an interesting one. I guess it's easy to rest on your laurels when you have a formula that obviously works. Drummers may cane him, but fans are still buying albums.....in Lars' mind, I'm sure he thinks he's doing ok. Of course it could also be that the time that used to be spent practising drums has become overshadowed by the time it takes to count his millions. :)
 
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