Metallica’s Lars Ulrich says he wasn’t “qualified” to play with Rush at Taylor Hawkins tribute concert

Lars Ulrich of Metallica (Gary Miller via FilmMagic) + Geddy Lee of Rush (Kevin Mazur via Getty Images)

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has opened up about his appearances at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts in London and Los Angeles, saying he was stoked to perform AC/DC and Black Sabbath songs, but didn’t feel “qualified” enough to perform with Rush.

At the first show – which took place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday September 3, paying tribute to the late Foo Fighters drummer – Ulrich joined AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and the Foos’ surviving members to perform a pair of the former band’s hits: ‘Back In Black’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’. Then, in LA, he joined Sebastian Bach, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and the Foos to perform ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Supernaut’.

Appearing on The Howard Stern Show last Monday (November 28), Ulrich said of the opportunities (via Blabbermouth): “Dave Grohl called me three or four months ago and asked me if I would partake in the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows at Wembley and at the LA Forum, and, obviously, before he was done explaining it, I just said, ‘Yes, Dave. I’ll be there. Just tell me what you want and I’ll show up with bells and whistles on.”

Ulrich went on to explain that he found the shows daunting because “straying outside of the Metallica world is not the most comfortable thing” for him. He continued: “I think a big part of why we just love staying inside the Metallica universe is because there’s that safety in numbers, and we just support each other and have that thing.”

He noted that it was “so much fucking fun” to perform the aforementioned AC/DC songs, particularly because he found them to be “right in [his] wheelhouse”. That being said, an offer to play with Rush – who also performed at both tribute shows – would not have appealed to Ulrich.

“I mean, I love Rush,” he said, “[but] If they had said, ‘Come up and play ‘2112’ with Alex [Lifeson] and Geddy [Lee], I’d go, ‘I think there’s somebody more qualified to do that than me.’”

When pressed further by Stern, Ulrich elaborated: “Could I do it? Obviously, playing with Alex and Geddy would be incredible… Chad Smith played and Dave played a couple of songs [with Lifeson and Lee]. It would be an uphill thing. It would take a lot of rehearsal, a lot of prep. ‘2112’ would probably be too much of a bite of the apple for me.”

Ulrich is currently doing the rounds to promote Metallica’s upcoming 11th album, ‘72 Seasons’, which is primed to arrive on April 14. The album was announced last week alongside its lead single, ‘Lux Æterna’, and during his interview with Stern, Ulrich admitted that he thought “for sure” the album would leak.

Elsewhere in the chat, Ulrich explained why Metallica let Stranger Things use ‘Master Of Puppets’ in its fourth season. “It was such a mindfuck to see how that became a phenomenon, and we were so proud,” he said of its inclusion.

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