Lars Ulrich Favorite Drummers

Metallica‘s founding member Lars Ulrich isn’t only skilled in singing and drumming and a true inspiration for all musicians and dummies. His precise and energetic drumming style and James Hetfield’s iconic guitar play, the two made stood and gave a solid ground for Metallica.

Ulrich became one of the innovative drummers of his generation. His drumming style was already a key to success for Metallica, but his songwriting skills were just as crucial as his drumming style.

Throughout the band’s career, the group went through several ups and downs and multiple lineup changes were made but Ulrich stayed in his position. It’s an honor to know what kind of drummer Ulrich is interested in, let’s take a look at some of his favorite drummers.

Five Favorite Drummers Of Lars Ulrich

During the era when the band was formed in 1983, the legendary classic heavy metal bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Motorhead had influenced the entire generation.

However, as time started to tick, we started to see progressive rock bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Rush coming with a new approach to music. All these bands were inspirational for Metalluca and a legend like Ulrich himself, it was an important decision for him to name these drummers.

Ulrich named his favorite drummers in such order:

  • John Bonham
  • Neil Peart
  • Phil Rudd
  • Ian Paice
  • Dave Lombardo

5. Dave Lombardo 

DAVE LOMBARDO sitting out TESTAMENT's 2023 shows, says future with band  uncertain | Revolver

Another favorite of Ulrich was the drummer of Slayer, Dave Lombardo. He is a legend in the community of metal. Dave also influenced many drummers and incredibly impacted the metal genre.

He grew up in a musical family, which may be the reason why he was such a good drummer from a young age. Lombardo fell in love with jazz, Latin, rock, and heavy metal at a very young age. He loved fast-paced bands such as Black Sabbath, Venom, and Motorhead.

Lombardo joined Slayer in 1982 and impacted the band in a great way. For a band like Slayer, Dave was a perfect summer, his complex rhythms, fast tempos, double bass drums, blast beats, cymbals, every technique were crucial for Slayer’s rise in heavy metal.

Ulrich complimented Dave as one of the best. “When it comes to drums, Dave Lombardo is, by far and away, God, there’s no competitive edge, but if there was, Dave would win. Lombardo could kick the rest of our asses with just a whip of his little finger. So there was no competitive edge. That’s the thing that I can truly say is the biggest difference now.” 

Lars Ulrich and Dave Lombard were named the “Drum God” among The Big 4 bands.

4. Ian Paice

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Coming to the list, Ian Paice is one of Ulrich’s favorite drummers. Piace started to play drums when he was a teen, he was fond of listening to blues, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. He was talented, and it didn’t take long for the world to notice it.

Ian Piece then became a part of Deep Purple in 1968, and he has been a vital member of the group. Throughout the band’s career, Paice used his creative drum style and helped Deep Purple to gain a spot in mainstream music.

Paice’s talents and skills were not only limited to Deep Purple, he has also played for other popular bands, including Gary Moore, Whitesnake, and with the Beatles legend, Paul McCartney.

When asked about why Ian, Ulrich replied that he loved his (Ian Paice’s) drumming during an interview with The Howard Stern Show, “On drums, little Ian Paice, a rock n roll cocktail of hair, sweat, spit and precision, somehow managing to wipe the steam off his glasses as he pressed this freight-train forward…and doing it in 8-inch platform heels,” Ulrich said.

3. Phil Rudd

Phil Rudd's solo album: Former AC/DC drummer to release new collection

The drummer of AC/DC, Phil Rudd was picked as another favorite drummer by Lars Ulrich. Phil joined the band in 1975 and he was just the perfect drummer that AC/DC was seeking.

His straightforward drumming style was unique and helped the band gain a place in the mainstream. His unique playstyle was also known by the name “in the pocket,” which ultimately meant he had a great sense of groove and timing.

Phil Rudd is a highly respected drummer throughout the community and Lard agrees with that. During an interview with Forbes, Ulrich explained that listening to Rudd used to make him happy,

“He’s been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turn-away from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after ‘[…And] Justice [For All]’, when we got into the ‘Black Album’ and the ‘Load’ stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that,” Ulrich said. “Phil Rudd, he’s the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James, that’d be pretty cool.”

2. Neil Peart

Remembering Neil Peart, A Monster Drummer With A Poet's Heart : NPR

The next drummer that comes on the list is from, the band Rush, Neil Peart. Influenced by progressive and jazz music, Neil quickly learned the drums and infused both of those techniques into it.

Peart joined Rish in 1974, replacing Jon Rustey, their original drummer. After he joined, the band made the release of their 1975 album, ‘Fly by Night’. If we take a good look throughout the album, we can see Neil’s unique drumming style and his ability to deliver incredible lyrics.

Instead of just being a drummer, Peart was also a lyricist for Rush. His lyrics were always a banger, and when asked how he came up with the idea, he explained that the lyrics were an inspiration from his personal experience, literature, and philosophy.

Like Ulrich, we all believe that Peart had a unique ability to combine complex tunes and turn it into one of the memorable choruses. Ulrich looked back at the moment when he first met with Neil Part during an interview with Howard Stern, and explained it as “mind-blowing.”

“The first time I ever met Neil – it was 1984, our manager Cliff signed Rush, and I had drum questions about gear and this and that, and he goes, ‘Neil loves to talk to younger drummers,’ and he goes, ‘Call Neil. He wants to hear from you,’ he recalls.

“And it was, like, ‘Huh…?’ I was 20 years old with not a pot to piss in. I called him, and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone, and we were geeking out on drums, and the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can’t play drums and not love Neil, and you can’t not-be appreciative and respectful.”

He also recalled the same moment with the Guitar Center in 2014; “So [he said] ‘Do you wanna talk to Neil Peart about drums?’ I was like that big [tiny] at the time. And [I was] talking to Neil, who was like the God of Gods. So I managed to sort of get enough [courage] to dial the phone number that I was given, and I called him,” he said.

“I spoke to Neil Peart for like half an hour about Tama drums,” he added. “It was pretty amazing. The people at Tama sent me a drum kit to my specifications. So that’s 29 years, I’ve never thought of [me] playing any other drums,” 

1. John Bonham

LZ054 : John Bonham - Iconic Images

Coming at the top of the list, Ulrich’s favorite drummer of all time was John Bonham, the legendary drummer from the legendary band, Led Zeppelin.

Bonham had the ability to adjust in any situation. He was also very skilled with complex drum patterns, dynamic use of cymbals, and thunderous fills. With a unique playing style, he released classic rock songs like Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, and Whole Lotta Love. 

Although John Bonham was very popular back in the day, he was always humble. He was also a family man, who loved to spend time with his children and wife. Everybody respected Bonham for his hard work and dedication, he was truly an inspiration for everyone.

Unfortunately, the world lost Bonham on September 25, 1980. He was just 32 years old when he left us, but his legacy will continue to shine in the world, and he will be forever known as one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock.

Ulrich loved the way that Bonham used to play. During his interview with Howard Stern, Lars stated that John Bonham was better than Neil Peart.

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