Metallica's Lars Ulrich has managed to book an exclusive and elite trio of guests for the next three episodes of It's Electric, his Apple Music radio show: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo. "I listened to Kirk's episode yesterday, and it's definitely unlike anything that Metallica fans have ever heard," he tells Rolling Stone. "Each of them put together a playlist that reflects certain elements of their past – stuff from back in the day and stuff that helped shape who they are musically – and I learned a lot. As the world's biggest Metallica fan, I got the chance to interview these guys and learn more about their musical DNA."
The drummer recorded each of the shows when the band was in Toronto on their ongoing WorldWired tour, and he will be airing the episodes – with one full hour dedicated to each member – on Sundays at 6 p.m. EST on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio with encore airings running at 6 a.m. EST on Mondays. Hammett's episode will air first on July 30th, with Trujillo (August 6th) and Hetfield (August 13th) to follow.
Ulrich said he learned a lot about Hammett's childhood and understanding of music during his interview with the guitar player, who joined Metallica in 1983. "He has a very analytical mind about music," Ulrich says. "His cast the net very wide with his playlist, so it goes from Iron Maiden to the Beatles to John Coltrane to Radiohead.
"I'm not gonna bullshit you," he continues. "We don’t sit around and necessarily have conversations about John Coltrane on a day-to-day basis. So it's fun for me to reconnect with all the fellas again in that intimate setting and talk music one-on-one. It's not something that happens a lot, since we've all got families and there are people around. So it was very cool."
Ulrich says he enjoyed hearing bassist Trujillo's tales of growing up in Los Angeles in the Seventies – "hanging out in Venice Beach and Culver City and Santa Monica and going to see shows at the Forum." He says Trujillo gave him a "fly-on-the-wall" look at the music that was playing in his home, including songs by the Everly Brothers, the Ohio Players and the Jacksons, as well as the bassist's relationship with bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, the subject of a recent documentary that Trujillo spearheaded. "And again," Ulrich says, " he brought a vast selection of music with him, from Rush to Korn to Killing Joke. It isn't a huge surprise but it's lots of bass-driven, bass-heavy, very rhythmic stuff, and some stuff I didn't know that well."
For the final episode of the series, Hetfield, who co-founded Metallica with Ulrich in 1981, made a "feel-good summer playlist," according to the drummer. "There was a band on there I'd never heard of, called Carousel, that was super cool," Ulrich says. "And he was playing a lot of stuff I hadn't heard for some time, like the Chicago band Loudmouth. I had a little record company through Elektra Records for about half an hour, 15 years ago, and they were one of the bands I was circling. They booked a show, and the whole [Metallica] gang went to see them at a neighborhood club and we were rocking out to Loudmouth. They just haven't showed up on my radar in about 15 years, so I got a chance to go down that path again and revisit that night, courtesy of James."
Overall, Ulrich says, he's found doing It's Electric, on which he plays and talks about anything he wants, to be both fun and freeing. Past episodes have featured Iggy Pop, Rancid's Lars Frederiksen and Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows, and one spotlighted Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list as Ulrich played music from his own Top 15 favorite hard-rock and metal LPs.
"I'm a very curious person," he says. "I'm fascinated by the creative process and I'm fascinated by creative people. So when the radio show was flown my way four or five months ago, I jumped on it. I like to sit there and have conversations with people and play music. There's an awful lot of great music out there – much more than I thought – that doesn't really get a chance to be highlighted, because of the demise of the music business.
"So I find great pleasure in sharing a lot of really cool music with an audience that probably, from what I can tell, doesn't know a lot of these bands," he continues. "Some of the bands I've been playing have been Brutus, who are great, from Belgium. There's a fantastic band out of Denmark called Baby in Vain. There's Counterfeit from England, who we've been playing a bunch. And there's an amazing band who reside in the Bay Area but are from Afghanistan called Kabul Dreams, who I just love. Their story is unbelievable. So to get a chance to push that out to people is a really special thing."