Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich told Metal Forces that he was unaware of a plan to throw him out of the band back in 1986. The long-running rumor was confirmed last November by guitarist Kirk Hammett in an interview with an Albany, New York radio station. The story first gained traction in 2009 when ex-Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine revealed it to Rolling Stone, and surfaced again when Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian discussed it while doing press for his 2014 memoir.

Ulrich said, “It’s certainly not something that I was ever aware of. But I can tell you that there’s been other times as we’ve cruised along where there’s been some friction with this band member or that band member, and where things were a little awkward with this particular guy, or whatever. When you have a collective entity like Metallica, that’s been together for 35 years, there are different times on that journey where the idea of what to do next in a particular sticky dynamic has brought upon different options of different potential resolutions.”

  • He continued, “There were times when Kirk was kinda floating out there, and there were a couple of times when (James) Hetfield was kinda floating out there, and there were different times when I was kinda floating out there, so it was very possible. I’m sure Scott Ian knows something that I don’t, and I’m fine with that. It was just not something that was ever on my radar.”
  • Ulrich added that he had not discussed the interview with Hammett, saying, “I make a point of not to read any of Kirk’s interviews. I really don’t read interviews . . . I mean, I can’t open some of my web pages or check the news headlines or whatever without being aware of the fact Kirk Hammett said this or somebody else says that. Obviously, it’s hard to exist in 2016 without some of this stuff showing up on your radar, but I don’t read it and I don’t follow it.”
  • In his interview last year, Hammett revealed, “I think at one point or another, we were pissed off at Lars, around maybe 1985 or something. We were unhappy and we might have grumbled something to someone. And then that person might have picked up on it and made it something a lot bigger than it actually was.”
  • Ulrich co-founded the band with guitarist/singer James Hetfield in 1981, and they remain its two original members.
  • Metallica recently completed recording its new album at its headquarters in San Rafael, California and is now mixing the disc, which is expected out before the end of the year.


  • If you just found out now about a plot 30 years ago to throw you out of the band you co-founded, how would you feel?
  • How would Metallica have been different without Lars in the band?
  • Do you think he’s embarrassed that this kind of story has gotten out there?

INTERNET COMMENTS at Blabbermouth — agree or not?

Aaron Penton wrote: “Imagine how many bands have discussed firing members throughout their careers. Probably most of them. So what? Also, Ulrich is a cowriter on every Metallica song except Motorbreath. Love him or hate him, he is an enormous part of the Metallica sound and vision. That band always has been and always will be Hetfield and Ulrich.”

Michael Mc Cabe wrote: “If Lars had been sacked he would have taken the Metallica name with him. Hetfield would rename the band…Luckily this never happened.”

Brian Slattery wrote: “Years later, Lars is a pretty good drummer, but I often wonder what Master of Puppets would have sounded like with someone else. Lars was creative, but he was always finding workarounds to compensate for his sub-par technique.”

Michael Stanislaus wrote: “Happened thirty years ago. Move on, this is no big deal.”