Metallica will launch an extensive tour next year in support of their new LP Hardwired ... To Self Destruct, and if drummer Lars Ulrich has any say, the metal band will carry on long after it wraps up. "The only unknown is the physical element of it," he tells Rolling Stone. "If the arms and legs and knees and shoulders and throats and all that stuff, the backs, the necks, if all that stays intact, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to do this for a significant amount of time longer."
The four members of the group are in their early 50s, a good two decades younger than the Rolling Stones. "I love the Rolling Stones more than anybody else on this planet," says Ulrich. "Obviously what we do, I'd like to argue, is slightly more physically demanding in terms of the energy that goes into it. Songs like 'Battery' or 'Master of Puppets' or 'One' have this insane physical energy and demand. If you can't play it at the physical demand that it deserves, it's better to not play it than play it half-assed. That's the only unknown. I think mentally we could do this for another 100 years."
Some of Metallica's peers, like Aerosmith, have questioned the wisdom of recording new albums considering the state of the record business. Metallica have a different take. "I hope we go on making records until the day we fall over," says Ulrich. "That's what certainly inspires you and gives you a sense of still being in the game. I certainly respect peers of ours that feel different, but feeling we've still got something to say is an important part of feeling vital, feeling confident and feeling good about yourself."
Hardwired ... To Self Destruct is Metallica's first album since 2008's Death Magnetic. "I think maybe this one is a little punkier in places and maybe slightly less progressive," says the drummer. "It's about the riffs and a bit more groove-oriented. One thing there's not is the big Metallica ballad. It's all pretty uppity."