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Drummer Database

Lars Ulrich

Name - Lars | Born - 12/1963 | Nationality - Danish-American | Genre - Metal

As founding member and drummer for metal giants Metallica, Lars Ulrich has been the pounding force behind some of the best known metal songs ever. Suprisingly, he was actually a very promising tennis player in his younger years until he moved to Los Angeles and got the drumming bug.

His drumming style is quite lean but always powerful and well thought out. He doesn't overpower the songs with 200 bpm fills and double bass drums, but instead strips his drum parts back leaving the raw, meaty essentials.

Lars not only plays drums though, he is very involved in the songwriting process with Metallica and acts as spokesman for the band. He's one of the most popular drummers of the past couple of deacdes and has inspired thousands of drummers around the world.


Lars playing live with Metallica


Lars was born on December 26, 1963 in Gentofte, Denmark. His father, Torben Ulrich, was a professional tennis player through the late 70's - 80's and Lars was set to follow in his foot steps. Lars's father was also a jazz musician who played with some big name stars including Stan Getz, Miles Davis, and Dexter Gordon who was Lars's godfather. He owned a jazz club and Lars would often spend time in there soaking up the music being played.

Lars's interest in rock music also came at a young age when he went to a Deep Purple concert in Copenhagen at age 9. Lars was amazed by the band's performance and bought their album Fireball the next day. He started to listen to the new wave of heavy metal bands from the UK including Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Motorhead. Although he was getting into rock music and enjoying it, tennis was still the main part of his life.

A few years later at age 13, Lars was given his first drum set by his grandmother, a Ludwig. He took to it very well and started to play when he could. However, a big change was needed if Lars was to take his tennis playing to a professional standard, and that meant moving to America. At around age 16, he went out to Los Angeles to get top-level coaching. But, Lars was now enjoying drumming - a lot! He put an ad in a local LA news paper for bandmates and was contacted by guitarist and singer James Hetfield.

During this time in 1981, Lars also found out about another heavy metal band from the UK - Diamond Head. He loved the band so much that he traveled from San Francisco to London to see them play live. But, he didn't plan exactly where he was going to stay after the gig. Luckily, he managed to meet the band backstage who liked him and let him stay with them. He then spent the next few weeks touring with the band and getting a taste for the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

Back in the US, Lars continued to play with James, forming a thrash metal group called Metallica. He then asked Metal Blades Records founder Brian Slagel if they could record a song for the label's upcoming Metal Massacre compilation record. Slagel said yes and Lars got to work. Dave Mustaine was brought in to play lead guitar and they recorded their first song Hit the Lights in 1982. The song got people talking and the band played their first live show at Radio City in Anaheim, California with Ron McGovney on bass guitar.

This began an amazing career for Lars with Metallica. They moved out to San Francisco with new bassist Cliff Burton and eventually got a record deal with Megaforce Records. With the addition of new lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, they released their debut album Kill 'Em All in 1983.

Lars has gone on to have massive success with the group touring the world and releasing further albums - Ride The Lightning in 1984, Master Of Puppets in 1986, ...And Justice For All in 1988, Metallica in 1991, Load in 1996, ReLoad in 1997, St. Anger in 2003, and Death Magnetic in 2008.

Today, Ulrich continues to play live and record with Metallica while also spending time with his family.


Drums - Tama | Cymbals - Zildjian | Sticks - Ahead | Heads - Remo

Lars Ulrich plays a Starclassic Maple drum set by Tama. The set usually contains Lars's 14"x6.5" signature snare drum, two 22"x16" bass drums, plus 10"x8", 12"x10", 16"x14", and 16"x16" toms.

As for cymbals, Lars plays Zildjian's including 14" Z Custom Dyno Beat Hi-Hats, a 17" A Custom Projection Crash, two 18" A Custom Projection Crashes, a 19" A Custom Projection Crash, an 18" Oriental China Trash, and a 20" Z China.

Most of the hardware is by Tama including two Iron Cobra Power Glide kick pedals, an Iron Cobra Lever Glide hi-hat stand, three Roadpro cymbal stands with counter weight, two standard Roadpro cymbal stands, a Roadpro double tom stand, a Roadpro snare stand, Tama multiclamp, Tama hi-hat attachment, and a Tama Ergo-Rider drum throne. Plus there's a DW Drop-Lock hi-hat clutch.

Lars plays with his own Signature Ahead drum sticks, and uses Remo drum heads. The heads on the toms are usually a Coated Emperor on the batter side with a Clear Ambassador on the resonant side, a Clear Powerstroke 3 batter with a Ebony Powerstroke 3 resonant on the bass drums, and a Coated Emperor X batter with Clear Hazy Ambassador resonant on the snare drum.

The view behind Lars's set...

Lars's set up

Lars's Tama Starclassic set...

Lars's set up

Lar's signature snare drum...

Ulrich snare drum


Click to enlarge (opens in new window)

Lars Ulrich

Selected Discography

* Kill 'Em All (Metallica, 1983)

* Ride the Lightning (Metallica, 1984)

* Metallica (Metallica, 1991)

* Reload (Metallica, 1997)

* Death Magnetic (Metallica, 2008)

* Master of Puppets (Metallica, 1986)

* ...And Justice for All (Metallica, 1988)

* Load (Metallica, 1996)

* St. Anger (Metallica, 2003)

Books and Dvd's

Ulrich Has Played With...

* Metallica

* Diamond Head

* James Hatfield

* Kirk Hammett

* Randy Staub

* Bob Rock

* Jason Newsted

* Cliff Burton

* Brain Dobbs

* Peter Shelton

* Mark Whitaker

* Jeffrey Norman

* Michael Kamen

* Toby Wright

* Mike Clink

* S. Mark Wright

* Paul Welcomer

* David Teje

* Anthony Striplen

* Victor Romasevich



"Don't talk it, walk it."

"One of my few shortcomings is that I can't predict the future."

"What's the message in Metallica? There is no message, but if there was a message, it really should be to look within yourself, don't listen to me, don't listen to James, don't listen to anybody, look within yourself for the answers."

"I don't like to be pigeonholed, and I really like that people never really know what's going on with Metallica."

"Doing things the way you see it, going by your own heart and soul, that is pure artistic integrity. Whatever the hair is six or sixty inches long, the eyes have make-up or not, the riffs are in 'E' or 'F' sharp, the amps are Marshall or not, all those things don't matter if you are doing it for the right reason, which to me means doing it for yourself!"

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