LARS ULRICH Recalls When JAMES HETFIELD Punched Him: ‘I Didn’t Stand Up For The Rest Of The Night’

Lars Ulrich James Hetfield

METALLICA is one of the most influential and successful metal bands of all time, but their journey has not been without conflicts and challenges. The relationship between the band’s co-founders, singer/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, has been especially turbulent at times, as they have clashed over creative differences, personal issues, and even physical violence.

One of the most notorious incidents occurred in 1982, when Hetfield punched Ulrich in the stomach after a disagreement over what song to play for an encore, because Hetfield was unhappy with Ulrich‘s decision to begin the encore with a song featuring a drum intro.

Ulrich later recounted the incident on the Howard Stern Show in 2021, saying: “We were playing at the Troubadour. It was the first show where we ever, in our minds, got an encore – we were six, nine months into our career.

“We were standing offstage discussing what song to play, and let’s just say there were differences of opinion. I suggested a song that started with drums, James suggested something else. We went back up onstage and I started the song that started with drums. So, when we came off, I got a slight punch in the stomach. I didn’t stand up for the rest of the night.”

“However, I think for balance, I will say, throughout the rest of the ’80s, James helped me in many situations when I had a little bit of a big mouth,” Lars added. “There were a couple times where the beer was flowing and I’d say the wrong things to the wrong people, but still they were really funny, [and] James was always there as my big brother. I would usually run, but James would clear it up for me.”