METALLICA‘s Lars Ulrich joined Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, “The Howard Stern Show”, this week. While on the program, Ulrich was asked to weigh in on whether LED ZEPPELIN‘s John Bonham or RUSH‘s Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time.
“It’s fucking hard,” Lars said (see video below). “Listen, I’ve been asked that question, on and off, for 40 years.
“I would put two additional names on that list. DEEP PURPLE‘s Ian Paice is an incredibly technically gifted drummer, and Phil Rudd is what gives AC/DC that incredible bounce and swing.”
After Howard brought up the “soul” of Bonham‘s drumming, Lars said: “You mentioned ‘When The Levee Breaks’. I mean, that’s classic Bonham. The drums are big, thunderous, ambient. He’s a little bit behind on the snare. And it’s got that groove. He’s in the pocket.”
As for his opinion of Peart, Ulrich said: “The first time I ever met Neil, it was 1984. Our manager Cliff [Burnstein] signed RUSH, and I had drum questions about gear and this and that. He goes, ‘Neil loves to talk to younger drummers.’ He goes, ‘Call Neil. He wants to hear from you.’ And it was, like, ‘Huh?!’ I was 20 years old with not a pot to piss in. And I called him, and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone and were geeking out on drums. And the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can’t play drums and not love Neil and you can’t not be appreciative and respectful.”
Pressed to pick his favorite, Lars said: “Between Neil and between John, no disrespect, but I’ll have to go with John Bonham.”
Back in 2017, Ulrich told Baltimore radio station 98 Rock that he would pick Rudd to take over behind the kit for METALLICA if he was no longer able to play drums in the band. “He’s been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turn-away from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after ‘Justice’, when we got into the ‘black album’ and the ‘Load’ stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that,” Lars said. “Phil Rudd, he’s the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James [Hetfield], that’d be pretty cool.”
“The Howard Stern Show”, which airs on SiriusXM channel Howard 100, is broadcast live Mondays through Wednesdays starting at 7:00 a.m. ET. Full show episodes are also available on demand.