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Lars Ulrich (born December 26, 1963) is a Danish drummer best known as one of the founders of Americanmarker heavy metal band Metallica. He was born in Gentoftemarker, Denmarkmarker to an upper-middle class family. A tennis prodigy in his youth, Ulrich moved to Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker at age seventeen to pursue his training, but instead of playing tennis, he ended up as a drummer. After publishing an advertisement in a local Los Angeles newspaper called The Recycler, he met James Hetfield and formed Metallica.


Lars' father, Torben Ulrich, who was an acclaimed tennis pro from the late 1940s into the early 1980s, was also a musician, playing jazz with giants such as Stan Getz and Miles Davis; legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon was Ulrich's godfather. In February 1973, Torben Ulrich obtained five passes for five of his friends to a Deep Purple concert that was being held in the same Copenhagenmarker stadium as one of his tournaments. When it was discovered that one of the friends could not go, their ticket was handed over to the nine year-old Lars. The young Ulrich found himself mesmerized by the performance, buying the band's Fireball album the very next day. The concert and the album had a considerable impact on Ulrich, inspiring his entrance into the world of rock and roll and later on, heavy metal. As a result of his newfound interest in music, he received his first drum kit from his grandmother at the age of twelve, a Ludwig. Lars' original goal and reason for moving to America was to play tennis, but the plan was later changed when he formed Metallica.

Later on in life, in 1981, Lars discovered a British heavy metal band called Diamond Head. He was so excited about their style of music after getting hold of their 1980 debut Lightning to the Nations that he traveled all the way from San Franciscomarker to Londonmarker in order to see the band perform live at the Woolwichmarker Odeon. However, the young Lars had not planned the trip out particularly well and was left without anywhere to stay after the gig. Still, he managed to meet the band backstage and explain the lengths he had taken to see them. The band warmed to him and lead guitarist Brian Tatler let him stay with him in Birminghammarker, where Lars spent the next few weeks touring with the band. Lars still remains a big fan of the band and even helped mix their Best Of album.
Lars spitting water on his fans during a show in London, 15 September 2008.
In the same year Lars met James Hetfield in Downey, Californiamarker and formed the thrash metal band Metallica. He got the name "Metallica" from a friend, Ron Quintana, who was thinking up names for a heavy metal magazine he was starting up, and Metallica was one of the options, the other being "Metal Mania". Lars encouraged him to pick Metal Mania, and kept the name Metallica for himself. He became known as a pioneer of fast thrash drum beats, featured on many of Metallica's early songs, such as "Metal Militia" from Kill 'Em All, "Fight Fire With Fire" from Ride the Lightning, "Battery" from Master of Puppets and "Dyers Eve" from ...And Justice for All. He has since been considerably influential due to both the popularity of his band, as well as his various drum techniques, such as the double bass in the song "One" (...And Justice for All) and the opening of "Enter Sandman" (Metallica / "The Black Album"). Since the release of Metallica, Ulrich adopted a more focused and precise style of drumming, and reduced his kit from a 9-piece to a 7-piece.

Napster controversy

In April 2000, Ulrich became a vocal opponent of Napster and file sharing as Metallica sued the company for copyright infringement and racketeering. In July 2000, he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee after Metallica's entire catalogue was found to be freely available for download on the service. The case was settled out-of-court, resulting in more than 300,000 Napster users being banned from the service. Due to his high profile role in Napster's legal troubles and subsequent demise, Ulrich faced significant criticism and ridicule from users of the service.Since the Napster ordeal, Ulrich was quoted by LAUNCHcast as having some regrets:

Personal life

Ulrich has been married twice. His first marriage was in 1988 to Debbie Jones, a British woman he met on tour, but they were divorced in 1990 because of Ulrich's constant absence due to touring and then recording The Black Album. His second marriage was to Skylar Satenstein, an emergency medicine physician, from 1997 to 2004. They had two sons, Myles (b. August 5, 1998) and Layne (b. May 6, 2001). Satenstein was the inspiration for "Skylar", the love interest for Will Hunting (Matt Damon) in the movie Good Will Hunting, as Satenstein and Damon dated during college. Ulrich and Satenstein divorced in March 2004.

Ulrich has dated Danish actress Connie Nielsen since late 2003, early 2004 and the couple had their first child, Bryce Thadeus Ulrich-Nielsen, born in San Francisco on May 21, 2007. Nielsen also has another son named Sebastian (b. 1990).

Ulrich is a noted collector of art. His father, Torben, was also very fond of art and paintings, so Ulrich grew up surrounded by art and music, and both have always been a part of his life. After founding Metallica, he began visiting museums and art galleries during the band's long periods on the road. In an interview from 2002 Ulrich said: "I felt I could lose myself in art and get away from the music world. It became this great hiding place."

In 2008, in an interview with Stereo Warning, he said: "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."

When he and the rest of Metallica were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Ulrich was the first Danish person to receive the honor.

In popular culture

Ulrich's involvement in the conflict with Napster was parodied in "Christian Rock Hard", an episode of the satirical animated TV series South Park. In the episode, the children are taught not to download illegally because multi-millionaires like Ulrich now have to wait a little longer to buy extravagant things (also, when Kyle has his "weekly epiphany" and proclaims that bands should be about music, the artists react with "we're just about the money," with Ulrich nodding). Another such reference is in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Don't Download This Song".

Lars made a brief appearance on the Linkin Park live DVD, Live in Texas, dressed up as a green-fisted bunny man during their performance of "From the Inside".

Lars is featured, along with the other Metallica members, in the film The Darwin Awards. He portrays himself at a concert when two of the film's characters are involved in a freak accident as the band performs on stage.

Lars also appears with his band Metallica in the Simpsons episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer".

Lars also made an appearance on the television show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Lars made an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show on April 27, 2009.

Lars made an appearance on the Iron Maiden film Flight 666.

Lars made an appearance in the film Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

Lars made an appearance on the Sam Dunn film Global Metal.

Lars is said to be the greatest metal drummer of all time by "Dr. Gregory House" in the episode "Known Unknowns ".

Lars has also been announced to have a cameo in Guns N' Roses' new video "Better", which is yet to be released.


Ulrich endorses Tama Drums (where he is one of the few endorsees to have a full signature drum kit), Zildjianmarker Cymbals and Remo Drumheads. He is rarely, if ever, seen without these brands onstage. He has, however, been known to use a mixture of brands when recording in the studio, including Ludwig Drums, Gretsch Drums and Sabian Cymbals. Ulrich was an endorser of Calato Regal Tip drumsticks, but changed to Easton Ahead in 1994. Tama Drums has produced two Lars Ulrich Signature Snare drums, one with a steel shell (with diamond plate-like finish) and another made out of bell brass which currently is Tama's most expensive snare drum on the regular catalogue. Both snare drums measure 14x6.5".

Current Tour Kit (2008–2009)

  • Drums – Tama Starclassic Maple, LU Magnetic Orange
    • 10"×8" Tom
    • 12"×10" Tom
    • 16"×14" Floor Tom
    • 16"×16" Floor Tom
    • 22"×16" Bass Drum (×2)
    • 14"×6.5" Lars Ulrich Signature Snare Drum
      • Note: Ulrich uses the standard Lars Ulrich Signature LU1465 snare live on tour (diamond plate), while he uses both the LU1465 and LU1465BB (bell brass) in the studio, depending on what type of sound he wants.

  • Cymbals – Zildjianmarker
    • 14" Z Custom Dyno Beat Hi-Hats
    • 19" A Custom Projection Crash
    • 18" A Custom Projection Crash (×2)
    • 17" A Custom Projection Crash
    • 18" Oriental China Trash
    • 20" Oriental China Trash
      • Note: Ulrich will occasionally use a 20" A Custom Ping Ride when playing live.

  • Drumheads - Remo
    • Toms — Coated Emperor | Clear Ambassador
    • Bass — Clear Powerstroke 3 | Ebony Powerstroke 3
    • Snare — Coated Controlled Sound (black dot on reverse) | Clear Hazy Ambassador

  • Hardware - Tama and Drum Workshop
    • Tama IronCobra Power-Glide Single Pedal (×2)
    • Tama IronCobra Lever-Glide Hi-Hat Stand
    • Tama Roadpro Cymbal Stand w/Counterweight (×3)
    • Tama Roadpro Cymbal Stand (×2)
    • Tama Roadpro Double Tom Stand
    • Tama Roadpro Snare Stand
    • Tama Cymbal Holder (×2)
    • Tama Multi-Clamp (×2)
    • Tama Hi-Hat Attachment
    • Tama Ergo-Rider Drum Throne
    • DW Drop-Lock Hi-Hat Clutch

  • Other
    • Ahead Lars Ulrich Signature 16-1/4" length, .595" diameter



  1. Galaway Advertiser, The Week, June 2007
  2. The Falcon Newspaper - Napster bans more than 300,000 for downloading Metallica
  3. YouTube - Napster Bad
  4. PiTRiFF Online
  5. TAMA - artist profile - Lars Ulrich
  6. Zildjian - artist profile - Lars Urlcih

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