Lars Ulrich Shares Why Metallica Can’t Improvise

via Heavi / Youtube

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has expressed admiration for Deep Purple’s 1972 live album Made in Japan and lamented that Metallica can’t improvise like the Ian Gillan-fronted band did 50 years ago. “Most bands in 2023, including the one you’re talking to here, the songs don’t vary much from night to night,” Ulrich told the BBC. “But if you take a song like ‘Child in Time’ and listen to the recording on Made in Japan, and then listen to the alternate takes from the night before and the night after, it’s insane how different they all are. One night the song is eight minutes long and the other night it’s 11, and it’s all improvised. The musicians are just jumping out there and seeing where it takes them.”

Ulrich, however, said improvisation does not work for some of Metallica’s more complex compositions, such as “Blackened.” He explained that some Metallica songs require focus on specific sections, such as “Here it comes. Four bars away, I hope I don’t screw this up!” He noted that some musicians, including himself, are not as adept at improvising and tend to rely more on structure.

Metallica is set to release their new album, “72 Seasons,” on Friday and begin their M72 World Tour at the end of the month. The band will perform two-night stints in each city, with different set lists and opening acts on each night. This setup allows the band to create a “No Repeat Weekend” and gives them a “completely blank canvas every night,” said Ulrich. “It’s a little crazy, a little daunting,” he admitted, “but it gives you a completely blank canvas every night, which is always a good thing when you’ve been around as long as we have.”

The band has also made a recent business move to purchase a vinyl pressing plant, which they hope will allow them to avoid the supply-chain issues and manufacturing delays that have plagued the music industry since the coronavirus pandemic. Ulrich expressed his desire to use this acquisition to help other artists as well. “We’re trying to figure out a way to integrate what we’re doing with helping our brothers and sisters in other bands, and making sure the presses keep running towards maximum capacity,” he said. “Hopefully that way, we can help get more independent music out to people.”

Metallica has been a prominent figure in the music industry since the 1980s and has influenced many bands across different genres. Their new album, “72 Seasons,” is highly anticipated by fans and critics alike. The band’s decision to purchase a vinyl pressing plant shows their commitment to the industry and their desire to support other artists during a challenging time. The upcoming tour, with its unique setup of two-night stints and different set lists, promises to provide a fresh and exciting experience for Metallica fans around the world.