By releasing the 2011 collaboration album Lulu, Metallica, unbeknownst to them at the time, became a part of what would be Lou Reed’s last studio album ever.
The Velvet Underground icon sadly lost his life over the weekend after succumbing to complications from liver disease. He was 71 years old.
Now, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has issued an in-depth statement about Reed via The Guardian. Through a very touching, 7,600 word essay, Ulrich outlines the relationship between Reed and Metallica, the making of Lulu, and the sadness he felt to hear of the singer’s passing.
“…I was half shocked and half crushed – shocked that he went so quickly and crushed over the loss,” Ulrich explains to The Guardian, also stating the he knew that Reed was in poor health, but had no idea how bad it was.
The drummer then takes it back to the days when Metallica and Reed first became acquainted. He remembers rehearsing for a combined performance slated for the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts, which took place in the fall of 2009. However, when Reed first walked into the Manhattan rehearsal room to prepare for the show, things didn’t exactly get off on the right foot.
“We started setting up, and waltzing around a few musical things, and he was complaining about how loud we were and that we were playing everything wrong,” Ulrich recalls. “Every single thing we were doing was wrong. It wasn't limited to our entire approach to music, our existence was wrong.”
After Ulrich and Reed got a little one-on-one time, though, they began to realize their similarities and develop a sense of trust in one another. Soon, a deep friendship was formed.
“We were both outsiders, we both never felt comfortable going down the same path that everyone else was doing,” Ulrich explains. “Metallica’s always been autonomous, and Lou Reed is the godfather of being an outsider, being autonomous, marching to his own drum, making every project different from the previous one and never feeling like he had a responsibility to anybody other than himself. We shared kinship over that.”
Fast-forward to the release of Lulu, which Ulrich says was recorded in just three weeks. With its experimental feel that included Reed “half-reciting, half-singing” poetic lyrics over the music of Metallica, the album was critically panned, though Ulrich defends the project.
“In some ways it's almost cooler that people didn't embrace it, because it makes it more ours, it's our project, our record, and this was never made for the masses and the masses didn't take to it. It makes it more precious for those who were involved,” says Ulrich.
Finally, Ulrich remembers Reed as a man, with his unique personality traits and honest sense of being. The drummer also seems grateful that Metallica could be the ones to collaborate with the late-great rocker on his final release.
“The way he was so unfiltered is what I will remember most, and his fragility, and how I've never met anybody who, no matter what he was saying, he was always speaking his truth,” remembers Ulrich. “It never felt cerebral, it always felt like it came from some other place somewhere. When people talk, it comes from their brain; I don't know where his words came from, but they came from somewhere else. Emotional, physical, everything – it really resonated with me. I wanted to give him strength, and I think Metallica gave him strength.”
To read more of Lars Ulrich’s tribute to Lou Reed, head to TheGuardian.com, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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