It was Deep Purple and Ritchie Blackmore that changed the world for Lars Ulrich. After realizing the potential, he persuaded his grandmother to buy him his first drum kit at the age of 13.
But drums and music initially took a backseat to tennis, his father's profession. Lars was a ranked junior player in his native Denmark when the Ulrich's moved to Newport Beach, California. There, however Lars was just another tennis player, not the notable player he was in Denmark. Shortly after, tennis became less important, and Lars fell prey to the guilty pleasures of southern California: sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll... Lots of rock 'n' roll. Lars' passion for music grew, and he began trading tapes to obtain his beloved blend of European metal.
In June of 1981, Lars, the ultimate fan boy, flew to England to catch some shows by his now favorite band, Diamond Head. Somehow, some way, Lars managed to talk his way into living with the band in England until he had had to return to California. Back home, he found his tape-trading friend Brian Slagel looking for bands to record tracks for an album that would be released on his new Metal Blade Records. Lars secured himself a spot on that album. But, Lars had no band.
Before going to England he had jammed with a James Hetfield, a singer and guitar player. That jam had its share of problems... Lars' timekeeping wasn't that solid and the cymbals fell victim to gravity a bit too often. But now, he had bait: a spot on an album. Hetfield took the bait, and Metallica was born.
Music now shares the front seat with Lars' wife and child, and the drummer has learned to relax a bit more, but he's still very much in the driver's seat.
"Not only are Zildjians the best cymbals, they're the only cymbals. End of story."