Metallica drummer talks how their ‘Master of Puppets’ collaboration with ‘Stranger Things’ came to be, and how they found their way back into the “circles of life”.
On the eve of his 50th birthday, a man whose music is made up of fragments of sound – the music of a broken clock – reveals how Metallica’s iconic “Master of Puppets” album came to be made.
The Metallica member that goes by the name of Lars Ulrich has been working on it for more than five years.
“We had the band and the musicians,” he says. “With Metallica, it wasn’t a question of whether we’d be able to have this album recorded. It always happens this way. It’s about when you’re ready, what you want, what your priorities are.
“We actually did the first three songs and then we all moved on. I was with Lita on the road and [drummer] Jason Newsted wasn’t available so I just asked Jason, ‘Could I use this guy for something?’ So I had him play drums on the first three songs and I was able to get those three songs out of him.”
The master of puppets? Metallica’s master of puppets
The rest of the songs were recorded by Newsted using guitar parts by Ulrich’s father, who passed away when Lars was a teenager, and then mixed from there.
Ulrich says he has had some “pretty heavy” experiences recording the master. “We’ve been on the road for a while and sometimes we have to play two gigs in the same night and there are bands that we don’t know, so we’ve had to do some work with bands that we don’t know or are out of our wheelhouse,” he tells Rolling Stone. “There were so many nights when we had to play to an audience of people who hadn’t heard anything.
“A lot of people have asked me, ‘Can you explain it?’ ‘No, we’re just going to play the music and the audience will either get it or they won’t.’ I can’t explain it at all. It’s very emotional.”
The album, which is the second half of a trilogy, is a direct descendant of the band’s seminal 1986 album, Master of Puppets,