During an appearance on comedian Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast, Lars Ulrich opened up about how a custody agreement with one of his ex-wives led to METALLICA adopting a touring schedule that consisted of playing shows no longer than two weeks at a time . The METALLICA drummer said (as transcribed from BLABBERMOUTH.NET), “Maybe in the last 10, 15 years we’ve come around — and that’s no disrespect to our managers — but we came on the other side and basically said, ‘Listen to, we have to start putting some boundaries and some parameters on what we are willing to do,” because we used to do three [or] four in a row and then a day off and then three in a row and then a day off and then a week off between Europe and America. And finally, as I said, maybe around 15 [years ago]maybe about them [release of the] ‘Some Kind of Monster’ [documentary], we took charge and said, “We’re ready to go out for so long, so long,” and blah blah blah. And at one point, when I was maybe fighting a custody case between ’08 and ’10, we did a whole world tour for two years to not be on the road for more than two weeks at a time. We would play two weeks in Europe, then come home, play two weeks and then come home. We did an American tour for a week each.”
Ulrich went on to explain that because he had “50-50 custody” of his children, “it didn’t budge” on how much uninterrupted time each parent had with the children. “So I would literally take her to school on Monday morning and we would fly and do five shows in America – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday,” he explained. “Sunday night we flew home. I would be with my children for a week starting this Monday morning. And the rest of the guys in the band – bless them – were gracious enough and kind enough to work with. And it was a whole world tour for two years. So we’ve never been away for more than two weeks at a time.”
Lars previously opened up about METALLICA’s lighter touring schedule during a 2017 interview with The Ringer. At the time he said: “If you look at yourself [our tour] Dates, you will see that we do not do more than two weeks at a time. We do two weeks, then we go home for a couple of weeks. Then we do two weeks and we go home for a couple of weeks. That way it never feels like it takes so long that you fall off the deep end or that you’re scared of losing what’s left of your sanity or whatever. Basically, we only do two-week steps. It’s a way of keeping it fresh so we don’t burn ourselves out.”
When asked how he and his bandmates manage those routes, Ulrich told The Ringer, “Generally, you’re sort of locked in a little metal tube with two jet engines on top and you just fly from one place to another. What we often do is called “bases” – not that kind of bases, but bases in cities. We usually play from home on the West Coast. Or if we’re going to the East Coast, we stay at home in New York for a few weeks. That way you can keep a hotel room, keep your family out there. Then you fly to the show and fly back. It’s a way of staying as calm and sane as possible in the middle of all the madness. A lot of times we stay in Europe in London, Paris or Copenhagen. We choose cities that we like to be in. That makes everything somewhat bearable.”
In an interview with Nosy in 2017, Ulrich said that it was METALLICA’s tremendous commercial success that allowed the band to control how much they tour each year.
“Over the years, if you’re lucky enough to become successful, you can become more financially independent as you become successful,” he explained. “And that’s how we’ve been able to set parameters for how we tour so we can spend more time at home. We have a two-week rule: we don’t leave the house for more than two weeks at a time, 16 days at a time at most. We did 180 dates on the last album in two week increments. It’s not the cheapest way to travel the world, but we believe mental health isn’t affordable. If you stay reasonably healthy, thrn there’s a better chance of finishing all the shows and not jumping out of the deep end in despair and misery.”
Lars had two sons, Myles (born 1998) and Layne (born 2001), with his former wife, Skylar Satenstein. He also has another son, Bryce (born 2007), with Gladiator actress Connie Nielsen.
Lars and model Jessica Miller got engaged in July 2013 and married two years later. It is the third marriage for Lars, who was previously married to Debbie Jones and Satenstein.
Myles and Layne are in a band called TAIPEI HOUSTON, who released their debut album, Once Bit Never Bored, on November 4th through C3 Records.