5 Things You May Not Have Known About Lars Ulrich
You know him as the drummer for Metallica and the guy who couldn’t say enough nasty things about Napster back in 2000, but did you know that today is Lars Ulrich’s birthday? Well, if you didn’t, then add that to the list of things you didn’t know about him, and prepare to probably add five more…
1. Both his father and grandfather were professional tennis players.
Lars’s grandfather, Einer Ulrich, competed in the singles event at the 1924 Summer Olympics and played at Wimbledon in 1926, while his father, Torben, played at the French Open, the Australian Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon. Lars, meanwhile, opted out of the family business, such as it was, and favored drumsticks over a racket.
2. His godfather was jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon and he was childhood friends with Neneh Cherry.
Lars’s dad may have been a tennis player by trade, but his heart clearly belonged to the arts. “My dad was always around music,” Lars told Rolling Stone in 1995. “He was hanging out with Sonny Rollins, Don Cherry, Dexter Gordon. Dexter Gordon was my godfather. I used to play with Neneh Cherry when we were little kids. Her stepfather, Don Cherry, lived like six houses from where we lived in Copenhagen.”
3. Much of his career was shaped by seeing Deep Purple and Y&T in concert.
In February 1973, Lars’s dad went with some friends to see Deep Purple in Copenhagen, and he took Lars with them. The nine-year-old lad was enthralled by the show and promptly bought a copy of the band’s FIREBALL album, setting the stage for his future music tastes. It wasn’t until he went to see Y&T in 1981, however, that he officially decided to become a musician. From that point onward, there was no turning back.
4. He once appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
In 2001, Lars was one of several musicians who appeared as celebrity contestants on the prime-time game show phenomenon, alongside a cast of characters including McGrath of Sugar Ray, Emily Robinson of the Dixie Chicks, Gene Simmons from KISS, and – wait for it – Sisqo. Yes, that’s right, he of “Thong Song” fame. While he didn’t take home a cool million, he did walk away with $32,000, which is no small potatoes.
5. He made his acting debut in the HBO film Hemingway and Gellhorn.
Ulrich played Joris Ivens, a Dutch documentary filmmaker who worked on – among other projects – the propaganda film The Spanish Earth, which was narrated by Ernest Hemingway. In a 2012 USA Today article, director “Philip Kaufman recalled Lars after Sean Penn (of all people) brought him along for a script reading years prior to filming Hemingway & Gellhorn. Ulrich left such an impression on Kaufman that the director ended up casting him in the made-for-TV movie, which for the drummer conveniently filmed in the Bay Area. ‘I don’t have big acting career aspirations, but I love dabbling in different processes,’ Ulrich said. ‘I wasn’t chasing this, but I couldn’t say no.”
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