After weeks of speculation it was confirmed overnight that Metallica will this year become the first metal band to headline Glastonbury in its 44-year history. While fans’ reaction has been mixed about the metal legend’s place on the set, drummer Lars Ulrich has said the band’s decision to accept the headlining slot was “a no-brainer”.
“To be honest with you, we didn’t sit around and have a big conversation when the call came,” said Ulrich speaking to NME. “In Metallica we have a saying called a ‘no-brainer’. Headlining Glastonbury is a no-brainer. We didn’t need to sit around thinking about the pros and cons.”
“Getting a chance to play Glastonbury and representing the first harder rock band is obviously a huge honour,” he added to the Guardian. “And we are aware that there may be a few people in a few of the tents who’ll sit there and go, “What the fuck is Metallica doing at our festival?” And it’s OK.”
“I’m proud that we’re the first ones in, and I’m pretty sure that 99.9% of the people will be very appreciative of the fact.” Sharing the Glastonbury headlining honour is Arcade Fire and Kasabian, who were confirmed in December and April respectively. Since the announcement, some have expressed doubt at the appropriateness of the thrash metal legends playing the famed festival, given that the previous headlining acts have included Mumford and Sons, The Rolling Stones and Beyoncé.
But Ulrich says they have the experience to put together a set most will enjoy. “Trust your friendly neighbourhood Metallica, we’ll put something suitable together,” he continued to NME. Adding, “It’s great that, 32 years into our career, we’re still able to knock down doors – doors we didn’t think were open to us.”
Ulrich elaborated in his interview with the Guardian “I don’t know if the competitive fire burns with quite the same spark as it did 20 years ago, so I don’t know if we’re as concerned about that stuff as we used to be. “But obviously, playing to any people who may not be overly familiar with what you’re doing is always interesting.”
“The one thing we’ve figured out along the way is that Metallica have a tendency to get some fairly strong opinions out of people – which is a great thing, because nobody seems to just be neutral and dismissive. Everybody’s always got an opinion about what we do, or what we’re playing, or what we had for breakfast, or whatever.”
“That’s something you find the good in, because it means that people care,” he added. “And it’s better to have people care than not have anybody care.” Ulrich confirmed that seeing as it’s their “first visit to the sacred, hallowed Glastonbury grounds” he will be taking charge of the Glastonbury setlist, crafting a more straightforward lineup of hits, rather than the “by request” spot they played at Sonisphere festival.
He also said fans could expect to hear some new material in the set, in keeping with their trend of playing a new song each night on tour. “We played a new song every night [on tour] in Latin America, and that was a lot of fun. And that’s definitely what we’re planning on doing in Europe,” he said.
“Whether it’ll be the same new song from Latin America [The Lords of Summer] or not, I don’t know yet. We still have about three weeks to tinker around and see what else we come up with.” He also said fans could expect to hear some covers and maybe a collaboration or two.
“What I can tell you is that travelling all over the world, playing to people who’ve never experienced what you do before, what you realise is that people just appreciate music,” he continued. “But for better or worse, we’re coming! And we’re pretty fucking excited about it. If anybody has anything to say, then it’s a two-fingered salute and take that with ya.”