I like Lars Ulrich.
As a person? Hell, I don't know, but as a musician and co-founder of Metallica? Yes, I like the guy.
So, no, I will not jump on the "Lars Sucks" bandwagon. Again, does he suck as a person? I don't know. As a musician? Of course not.
As a first line of defense against those within the metal fan community who seem to genuinely hate Lars, it's easy to site the first four (or five, if you enjoyed the Black Album) Metallica records.
"You hate Lars (and/or Metallica)? All I have to say is the first four albums mow over everything that has ever existed in the existence of existing," said the slobbering fanboy.
No, the only time I like to use the "First Four Albums" defense when debating about Metallica is when people slag on Ulrich's drumming skills.
You'll see it time and time again on forums and blog posts about how Lars is a terrible drummer. I remember reading a blog comment that basically said, Death Magnetic would have been a good record if Metallica would have found a different drummer.
Now, it's one thing if someone simply does not like Metallica's music, but to say that Lars Sucks as a drummer is just…silly.
So when I read or hear people dogging on Ulrich's drumming skills, I do usually site the first four albums, particularly Master of Puppets. Why? Think about it. When Master first came out back in '86, I don't remember hearing a lot of whining and bitching about how the supposed
piss poor drumming ruined the album.
Nowadays people view Master of Puppets as a classic thrash album, and I doubt Lars' "awful" drumming comes to mind when listening to Disposable Heroes, Damage, Inc., or the title track.
I've read the argument that Lars has become increasingly worse as a drummer since the 90s. Now, I understand that many thrash fans felt burned by 90s Metallica (me included), but that goes back to simply not enjoying the music. It has no bearing on the musician's actual skills as a player.
However, if someone actually believes that Lars use to be good but has somehow become decrepit as a drummer and musician, particularly when writing and playing on Metallica records, I would welcome someone to pull out a copy of Death Magnetic and point out the flaws in drumming technique that distracts from the songs. Not only that, but what could have been done to make it better?
As for my previous question, I am not a drummer, so I wouldn't know. I have a feeling that most people complaining about Lars Ulrich's skills are not drummers themselves.
So if Lars is not a walking failure as a drummer, then why all the Lars hate?
I believe the answer lies between Lars being a very rich and successful rock star and the stain left from taking Napster to court. I'm not saying the hate stems from all-out jealousy, but it IS easier to pick on the proverbial big guy.
I also believe that too many people make comparisons with other drummers.
"Lars?? HA! If you wanna hear a REAL thrash drummer, check out Lombardo, Menza, Hoglan, and that dude from Warbringer!"
Personally, I would also add that dude from Guillotine, but this is all beside the point. Yes, they are all incredible drummers, but because those guys are good takes zero away from what Lars does in his own band.
So is Ulrich the best or worst drummer in metal? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that he played on some classic records that sound just as good today as when they first hit the shelves.
If you really want to know what a crappy drummer sounds like, get me behind a kit. Maybe if I am as bad as some people believe Lars to be, I still have my shot at playing in a successful metal band.