Backstage with Metallica

Metallica are scary, right? At least in my memory of watching the Enter Sandman video on Rage through my fingers aged ten, they are fucking terrifying. So I’m nervous to interview Lars Ulrich. In all of rock and roll you could say he’s a man whose reputation precedes him. He isn’t going to suffer fools, as anyone who saw Some Kind of Monster, or who paid attention as he waged war against Napster could attest. So I am nervous, and it’s been a long time we’ve been waiting for the interview to kick off, so I am even more so by the time we sit down. I’ve been trying to hone the most perfectly crafted opening gambit I can think of, and when Ulrich sits down in one of the dressing rooms backstage at Acer Arena and gets fixed up with a radio mic so we can record the interview, I shuffle my notepad and pen. And my mind has gone blank.

“Ah, so. Do you want to play noughts and crosses while we set up?” I ask, for some reason, drawing a grid. “Though it’s really such a stupid game. If you don’t go first it’s impossible to win.”

“Noughts and crosses! Haha! I love the lingo. Noughts and crosses,” Lars Ulrich is laughing. “It is a stupid game. But maybe, is it on iPad? We could make it for iPad.”

So, Lars Ulrich is not scary. He is the opposite of scary. He is relaxed and friendly and funny and super nice. Which in it’s own way is weird when a person is so different to what you’re expecting. But it’s a good weird.

We arrive at Acer Arena and we’re greeted by Metallica’s Australian publicist, M, who is swiftly doing the business of getting people to where they’re meant to be, with what they need, dashing up and down the back corridors of the arena with a quiet, practised efficiency. We follow her around as schedules are rearranged and the interview is put back a while, and a little girl in a fairy costume is tearing past us, up and down the length of the corridor on a tricycle. I ask if the band brought their families on this tour, and M says not this time, and that the little girl belongs to one of the road crew. “Wheeeeee!!” she goes by again and again, amusing herself among the crates of gear and hard looking, tattooed crew members, in her own world. “Don’t go too far!” her mother calls after her as we watch the fairy wings disappear around a corner.

Next page