Scott Ian’s new autobiography I’m The Man: The Story of that Guy from Anthrax, claims that Metallica had planned on firing Lars Ulrich before the shocking death of Cliff Burton.
According to Consequence of Sound, Scott Ian’s new autobiography I’m The Man: The Story of that Guy from Anthrax, confirms long standing rumors that Metallica had intended to boot drummer Lars Ulrich before the death of bassist Cliff Burton.
As the lead guitarist and founding member of Anthrax, which, along with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeath formed the “big four” of thrash metal in the 80s, Scott Ian spent a lot of time hanging around Metallica.
On Metallica’s 1986 tour in promotion of Master of Puppets, Metallica members James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Cliff Burton revealed to Ian that they planned on firing drummer and founding member Lars Ulrich after the tour ended. An excerpt from Ian’s autobiography stated,
“All of a sudden Cliff and Kirk got serious. They told us when they got home from the tour they were going to fire Lars. They said they couldn’t take being in the band with him anymore and were done putting up with him.”
While the exact reasons for firing Ulrich were never made clear to Ian, in his novel he speculates, “I figured it was because they wanted a better drummer, but apparently there was also a lot of business-related stuff going on behind the scenes they weren’t thrilled with.”
While Metallica had intended to kick out Ulrich after the tour, their plan was interrupted by the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton, who died instantly after the band’s tour bus skid off an icy road in Sweden. According to Ian’s autobiography, after Burton’s death, the band decided they couldn’t afford to lose two founding members.
“I asked James what’s happening with the Lars situation. “We’re not going to do that now,” he said. “We can’t lose two guys. We’re going to find a new bass player. The last thing Cliff would want would be for us not to play music.”
However, in a recent interview at Colorado Springs, Colorado radio station 94.3 KILO, Scott says he believes the band probably wouldn’t have fired Ulrich after all.
“I honestly think it wouldn’t have happened. ‘Cause, believe me, I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the years. I honestly think that the tour would have finished and I think cooler heads would have prevailed, maybe, and I don’t think the change would have taken place. That’s what I believe.”
After losing Burton, Metallica decided to keep the band going, hiring bassist Jason Newsted from the band Flotsam & Jetsam and finishing their tour dates.
Despite the loss of bassist Cliff Burton and internal problems with original member Lars Ulrich, Metallica went on to become one of the biggest bands in rock history, selling over 100 million albums and touring all over the world for three decades.
“Obviously, history turned out differently for Metallica and they went on to become, arguably, one of the biggest bands on the planet.” Ian told KILO, “So I’m just glad it all… obviously it all worked out for my friends. [It was a] horrible tragedy that Cliff was killed in that bus accident.”