Metallica’s Lars Ulrich: Record Store Survival Is ‘Important for Everybody’
Metallica served as 2016's ambassadors for Record Store Day, which took place on April 16. Even though the commemorative day has passed, Lars Ulrich continues to preach the vitality of record stores and how deep of a connection he has not only to the vinyl format, but the experience of supporting and visiting these shops as well.
The drummer recently spoke with BBC Radio 6 Music (audio below), detailing his history with record stores and why he believes their survival is integral for all music fans. Ulrich dials back the clock to his pre-teen years, explaining his father's passion for music and his "intense record collection" before detailing his early experiences in record stores. "When I was about ten, eleven years old, I started going to record stores myself and buying records, buying a lot of singles and 45s from the U.K.," he began.
Revealing he started purchasing records around 1973 or '74, Ulrich continued, "It was like the most exciting thing in the world to make the trip into central Copenhagen [capital of Denmark], go to the record store, look at records, listen to records in the store, engage in conversation with the people that worked in record stores. The record store was your portal, like your gateway to everything music."
Parlaying how these experiences translate to what the stores mean to Metallica on the whole, Ulrich stated, "Record stores have always had a very significant place in my life, and Metallica has always championed, obviously, independence, and championed autonomy and championed being edgy and kind of… I guess, to a degree, without getting too poetic about it, challenging the status quo and being the small fish in the big pond or whatever. So helping the independent record stores and all that out there, and shouting their worth from every rooftop is something that we're quite happy to do."
While vinyl has certainly experienced a surge in popularity over the last few years, the physical form remains in the shadows of new age outlets like streaming music services. The drummer was asked about the importance of the survival of record stores, to which he responded, "I think it's… Not just as an artist, but I think it's important for everybody that record stores survive."
Sharing a personal anecdote, Ulrich commented on his family's connection to vinyl and record stores. "I have three boys," he said, "and one of my kids just started getting into vinyl over the last year or two and going to Amoeba [Music] and going to Rasputin [Music], and so on, in Northern California, which are two of our local [stores], it's a huge thing. And so, as an artist, it's important, and I think as a fan of a music, as just a connoisseur of that particular kind of culture, it's important — the human connection."
As Record Store Day Ambassadors for 2016, Metallica performed an intimate show at the aforementioned Rasputin Music in Berkeley, Calif. which was also streamed live. The thrash kings had just released remastered editions of Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning the day before and followed it up with the Record Store Day exclusive Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, Metallica! which is a live album from the band's 2003 performance at Le Bataclan in Paris, France.
Lars Ulrich on BBC Radio 6 Music
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