METALLICA‘s Lars Ulrich recently joined Zane Lowe on Apple Music to run through his “At Home With” playlist. During the chat, the drummer was asked for his take on the current situation in America, both as a father and as a Danish immigrant. He replied: “I think the first word that comes to mind is just ‘bewildering.’
“It’s hard for me to talk about America without putting it in the context of where I come from — Denmark. So my equalizer is Denmark. In Denmark, everything is ‘we,’ everything is ‘us,’ everything is just five million Danes standing together and trying to figure out how to move forward together. So words like ‘unity’ and ‘collective’ are very present when I think about Denmark, and it’s always about opening your door and being embracive and hospitable.
“Obviously, America is three hundred and thirty million people, and it covers more ground than most other countries on this planet,” Ulrich, who moved to the U.S. in 1980 at the age of 17, continued. “And those ideals, I think, are just very hard or just difficult… You can’t just say, ‘Well, America is gonna be the same as Denmark.’ I understand the difficulties, and I understand all of it, and it saddens me. But I’m not even [of the mindset] that ‘glass is half full,’ I’m ‘the glass is spilling over’ all the time positive and obviously feel that, spending most of my time in the future, that the future will always be better than the past. And I’m hopeful that unity is in front of America at some point soon.
“I can see it in my kids. [I have] a 22-year-old, [a] 19-year-old and [a] 13-year-old,” Lars added. “I’m very hopeful. I don’t want it to sound cheesy, I don’t want it to sound cliché, but when I look at these kids, my kids and so many of their peers, I just feel like so many of them are really, really good kids. And it’s not about whether they’re successful or whether they’re becoming doctors or lawyers or scientists or whatever — that bar, to me, doesn’t even exist anymore. Now it’s just, are they good kids or are they not good kids? And pretty much all of them are — they’re good kids, they’re global citizens, they’re respectful, they have empathy, they care and they’re involved.”
Ulrich, who has made no secret of his liberal views, had previously voiced his dislike of Donald Trump, saying in a 2016 interview that he would consider moving back to Denmark if Trump were elected president.
In a 2016 interview with Vulture, Lars was asked if he ever discusses politics with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield, who has described himself as being somewhat conservative politically. “I swear to you, I talk to James Hetfield about most things on this planet, but I don’t think I’ve ever willfully had a political conversation with him,” Lars responded. “We’ve spent [more than] 35 years together, and obviously we’ve been in the same room when the conversation went toward politics, but James and I sitting down in a room and discussing our particular views on something like affordable health care? Never happened.”
Asked if it doesn’t seem weird to work with someone for more than 35 years and never talk about politics, Lars said: “The thing you’ve got to understand is that METALLICA is made up of four people from four different places who took four very different paths to where we are now. The one thing that unites us is the love of the music that we’re playing and that all four of us felt like outsiders trying to figure out who the hell we were. We didn’t come together because we were questioning this in the culture or that about politics. We came together because we were all a little lost and trying to get a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. I’ll sit and talk politics with you all night, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to do it in an interview. METALLICA is a collective, but we’ve just never been the kind of band to sit down and say, ‘Okay, what’s our common view of the world?'”
Ulrich also talked about his own personal view of the world these days. He said: “I grew up in a functioning social democracy. I grew up on affordable health care in a country where the word ‘we’ is more popular than the word ‘I.’ So, trust me, I have my opinions about this stuff, but I don’t really need to shout it from the rooftops. Maybe one day I will, and there are times when it’s difficult not to. I’m stunned about how truth and facts have become obsolete, and how if someone sees something they don’t like, they just say ‘the media made that up.’ But I get plenty of shouting done about this stuff in my personal life.”