Lars Ulrich has long bemoaned Deep Purple's absence in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When Rolling Stone asked him in 2014 who should be inducted, he said Deep Purple's name four times with comical emphasis. Now that the pioneering hard-rock and heavy-metal band are finally making it in this year – and he'll be overseeing the induction speech – he couldn't be more pleased.
"It's been no secret that I have been fairly vocal about my appreciation for Deep Purple ... they have probably been the primary musical backbone in my body ever since I first heard them when I was 9 years old," he recently told Radio.com. "I do believe that most people have heard me say that 'It's long overdue for them to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame' ... but now they're here: hallelujah!"
Metallica paid tribute to Deep Purple in 2012 when they recorded "When a Blind Man Cries," off Purple's Machine Head LP, for the tribute comp Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head. They also paid homage to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's post-Purple group Rainbow with a nine-minute medley of that band's songs for the 2014 comp Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life.
The drummer went on to explain how Deep Purple had a strong currency in Denmark, where he grew up and marveled at their tenacity with live performance. "Deep Purple was an incredible live force," he said. "They were known for being technically proficient, and every night when they would play a show it would be different than the night before or the night following. ... Ritchie Blackmore, the lead guitar player – the legendary impulsive, unpredictable character – would always take the band in different directions. There was a lot of interesting push and pull between the players and there were nights when they would almost get into a jazz place. It was a totally different thing.
"Zeppelin was a bit more blues-based, Sabbath had a heavier blues type of thing," he continued. "Deep Purple just came from someplace else. There was a technical efficiency that was just unparalleled at the time."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction will take place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Friday and will also see N.W.A, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller and Chicago welcomed into the pantheon. The ceremony will be broadcast on HBO this month.