Drummer of Metallica
“Metallica is the only band I've ever been in. I'm not sure that when it ends in five, ten years, I'm going to put an ad in the paper saying 'Stupid drummer looking for stupid people to play music with.' Metallica is it and I think when that ceases, that's it.” Lars Ulrich
Danish drummer and songwriter Lars Ulrich is widely recognized for his association with the multiple Grammy Award winning American heavy metal band Metallica, which he founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield in 1981. With the group, Lars has nine successful studio albums with “Kill 'em All” (1983), “Ride the Lightning” (1984), “Master of Puppets” (1986), “...And Justice For All” (1988), “Metallica” (The Black Album, 1991), “Load” (1996), “ReLoad” (1997), “St. Anger” (2003) and “Death Magnetic” (2008). They won Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance for “One” (1990), “Stone Cold Crazy” (1991), “Metallica” (1992), “Better than You” (1999), “St. Anger” (2004) and “My Apocalypse” (2009) and three for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Whiskey in the Jar,” Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “The Call of Ktulu” and Best Recording Package for “Death Magnetic.” Ulrich and the rest of Metallica have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He became the first Danish person to receive the honor.
Ulrich has been married twice. His was first married to Debbie Jones from 1988 to 1990. He and his former second wife, Skylar Satenstein, (together from 1997 to 2004) have two sons together. He also has a son with his actress girlfriend Connie Nielsen and lives in the San Francisco area with Nielsen and his three boys. He is good friends with Sean Penn and a big fan of Oasis.
Growing up surrounded by music and art, Ulrich collects art and enjoys visiting museums and art galleries. He stated, '”We had art all over the house when I was growing up. It's been a passion of mine for 20-25 years. It's one area where I can go and be myself. It's not about being in Metallica or being the drummer in a rock band. I'm accepted for who I am in the art circles. I love going into artist spaces and galleries and auction houses. It's great because it has absolutely nothing to do with Metallica. It's my place of sanctuary.”
Childhood and Family:
Lars Ulrich was born on December 26, 1963, in Gentofte, Denmark. He is the son of Torben Ulrich (born on October 4, 1928), a nationally famed tennis pro who played from the late 1940s to early 1980s. His father was also a musician and played jazz with American saxophonist Stan Getz and trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis. Lars' godfather was legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon. As a child, Lars trained to become a tennis player with the hopes of following in his dad's footsteps. In 1973, his father took him to his first rock concert, a Deep Purple concert, in Copenhagen, which exposed the then-10 year old Lars to hard rock and heavy metal. The captivated youngster subsequently discovered an interest in music. Lars got his first drum kit from his grandmother when he was 12. In 1980, at age 16, Lars immigrated with his family to the United States.
In 1988, Lars married Debbie Jones, an English woman he met on tour. They divorced in 1990. He married Skylar Satenstein, a former college sweetheart of actor Matt Damon, on January 26, 1997. Their sons, Myles and Layne, were born on August 5, 1998, and May 6, 2001, respectively. The couple divorced in March 2004.
In late 2003, Lars began a relationship with Danish actress Connie Nielsen (born on July 3, 1965). The couple welcomed their first child, son Bryce Thadeus Ulrich-Nielsen, in San Francisco on May 21, 2007. Nielsen also has an older son named Sebastian from a previous relationship.
Following his arrival in Los Angeles, California, Lars Ulrich placed an advertisement in a local newspaper to seek out other musicians to start a new band. He got an answer from vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield and Metallica was officially founded in October 1981.
Metallica released their debut album, “Kill 'Em All,” on July 16, 1983, on Megaforce Records. For the album, Ulrich played drums and served as a main songwriter (with Hetfield), Cliff Burton played bass and Kirk Hammett was on lead guitar. The album earned praise from critics and entered the Billboard 200 at No. 155 in 1986. The album went on to become a commercial hit for the group and has since been certified triple platinum from RIAA. The album also achieved double platinum status in Canada and went platinum in the U.K. and Argentine. “Kill 'Em All” yielded two singles with “Whiplash” and “Jump in the Fire,” a Top 30 hit in New Zealand. Ulrich co-wrote the first song with Hetfield and the latter with Hetfield and former guitarist Dave Mustain.
With the same lineup as its predecessor, the sophomore album “Ride the Lightning” was released on July 27, 1984, with Megaforce and re-released on November 19, 1984, by Elektra Records. Produced by Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen, the album rose to No. 100 on the Billboard 200 and No. 87 on the U.K. Album chart. Thanks to the popular songs “Fade to Black,” “Creeping Death” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” the album was eventually certified 5x platinum in the U.S. It also received double platinum in Canada, went platinum in Argentine and gold in the U.K.
Two years later, on March 3, 1986, Ulrich and the band launched the album “Master of Puppets” through Elektra. It rose to No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first gold record for the group. The album was certified 6x platinum by RIAA. “Master of Puppets” has since been considered one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. Despite the album's success, Metallica suffered a great loss when bassist Cliff Burton was killed in a bus accident while on tour to promote “Master of Puppets.” Ulrich stated, “I wasn't too angry in the beginning. I was obviously grieving, but the anger started setting in when I realized that it's not new that people in rock-n-roll die, but usually it's self-inflicted in terms of excessive drink or drug abuse. He had nothing to do with it. It's so useless, completely useless.”
Metallica next released an EP called “Garage Days Re-Revisited” on August 21, 1987, with new bassist Jason Newsted who joined the group in 1986 after the death of Burton. He would remain with them until 2001. A No. 27 hit on the Billboard 200, the EP received platinum certification in the U.S. and went gold in Canada. The fourth studio album, “...And Justice for All,” followed on August 25, 1988. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The album also made the top 10 in the U.K. (#4), Sweden (#5), Germany (#5), Switzerland (#7), Finland and Norway (both #8). “...And Justice for All” was nominated for a 1989 Grammy in the category of Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, but lost to Jethro Tull's “Crest of a Knave.” Commenting on his band's loss, Ulrich stated, “I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I was disappointed. Human nature is that you'd rather win than lose, but Jethro Tull walking away with it makes a huge mockery of the intentions of the event.”
In 1990, Ulrich and Metallica picked up their first Grammy Award for the single “One,” which Ulrich wrote with Hetfield. The song peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band's first Top 40 hit on the chart, and marked their first gold single. “One” also charted at No. 13 in the U.K. and made the Top 10 in Sweden and the Netherlands. Previous singles released from the “...And Justice for All” album included “Eye of the Beholder” and “Harvester of Sorrow.” Also in 1990, Metallica covered the British rock band Queen's song “Stone Cold Crazy” for the 1990 compilation album “Rubáiyát - Elektra's 40th Anniversary.” The song won a 1991 Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
Ulrich and his band gained an even bigger victory with the critically acclaimed and financially successful fifth album “Metallica” (informally known as “The Black Album”), which was released on August 31, 1991, under Elektra Records. Produced by Bob Rock with Ulrich and Hetfield, the album skyrocketed to No. 1 in the U.S. and the U.K. and stayed on the top position on the Billboard 200 for four consecutive weeks. The group's best selling record to date, “Metallica” has sold over 15 million copies in the U.S. and over 2 million pieces worldwide thanks to the well known songs “Enter Sandman” (#16 US), “The Unforgiven” (#35 US), “Nothing Else Matters” (#34 US), “Wherever I May Roam” (#85 US) and “Sad but True” (#98 US). The album won a 1992 Grammy for Best Metal Performance and the song “Enter Sandman” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song. The song also picked up a 1992 MTV Video Music for Best Metal Video.
After launching the live album “Live Shit: Binge & Purge” (1993), which was co-produced by Ulrich, Metallica released the album “Load” on June 4, 1996, which was produced by Rock, Ulrich and Hetfield. It rose to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5x platinum by RIAA for selling over 5 million units in the U.S. “Load” spawned six singles with the gold hit “Until It Sleeps” (#10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Ain't My Bitch” (#15 Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Hero of the Day” (#1 Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Mama Said,” “King Nothing” (#6 Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks) and “Bleeding Me” (#6 Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks). Metallica won a 1996 American Music for Favorite Artist: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock, and a 1997 Billboard Music for Billboard Rock and Roll Artist of the Year for their efforts.
“Reload,” hit the music stores on November 17, 1997. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 in Canada and No. 4 in the U.K. It was certified triple platinum by RIAA and contained the hits “The Memory Remains” (#3), “The Unforgiven II” (#2), “Fuel” (#6) and “Better than You” (#7). The latter song, written by Ulrich and Hetfield, won a 1999 Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
On November 24, 1998, the group launched the cover album “Garage Inc,” which went to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and earned 5x platinum certification in the U.S. The song “Whiskey in the Jar,” a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, brought Metallica a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album also produced Mainstream Rock Tracks hit singles with “Turn the Page” (#1) and “Die, Die My Darling” (#26). The following year, on November 23, 1999, the band released a live album with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra called “S&M.” It rose to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified 5x platinum in the U.S. The group shared a 2001 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “The Call of Ktulu.”
The album “St. Anger” was released on June 5, 2003, and was recorded with new bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined the group in 2003 after the departure of Newsted in 2001. The album became a No.1 hit on the Billboard 200 and was also a chart topper in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway and Sweden. It received double platinum certification in the U.S. “St. Anger” yielded four singles with the Grammy winning title track “Frantic,” “The Unnamed Feeling” and “Some Kind of Monster.”
“Death Magnetic” was released on September 12, 2008, through Warner Bros. Records. The album marked the group's fifth consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making them the first band ever to do so. “Death Magnetic” has received platinum certification in the U.S. and won a 2009 Grammy for Best Recording Package. The group also won an additional Grammy in 2009 for Best Metal Performance for the song “My Apocalypse.” Other singles released from the album include “The Day That Never Comes” (#1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Cyanide” (#1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks), “The Judas Kiss,” “All Nightmare Long” (#9 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks) and “Broken, Beat & Scarred” (#15 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks).
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “My Apocalypse,” 2009
Grammy: Best Recording Package, “Death Magnetic,” 2009
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “St. Anger,” 2004
Grammy: Best Rock Instrumental Performance, “The Call of Ktulu” (with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony), 2001
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, “Whiskey in the Jar,” 2000
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “Better than You,” 1999
Billboard Music: Catalogue Artist of the Year, Metallica, 1999
Billboard Music: Catalogue Album of the Year, “Metallica,” 1999
Billboard Music: Billboard Rock and Roll Artist of the Year, Metallica, 1997
MTV Video Music: Best Metal Video, “Until It Sleeps,” 1996
American Music: Favorite Artist: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock: Metallica, “Load,” 1996
American Music: Favorite Metal/Hard Rock Song, “Until It Sleeps,” 1996
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “Metallica,” 1992
MTV Video Music: Best Metal Video, “Enter Sandman,” 1992
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “Stone Cold Crazy,” 1991
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “One,” 1990