Lars Ulrich Biography

Drummer (1963–)
Founder and drummer of the heavy metal band Metallica, Lars Ulrich is known for his forceful style and double bass beats, as well for suing Napster in 2000.


Lars Ulrich was born in Denmark in 1963. After seeing his first concert at age 10, he became enamored with the drums. After his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 16, Ulrich formed Metallica with James Hettfield. In the 1990s, he opposed Napster and testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee about copyright infringement. He has a record label, Music Company, and recently began acting. 

Early Life

Lars Ulrich was born on December 26, 1963 in Gentofte, Denmark. His father, Torben Ulrich, was a professional tennis player, and instilled in Lars a love of the game. As a child, Ulrich anticipated following in his father's footsteps to become a professional tennis player. Then, at age 10, he saw the band Deep Purple—his first concert—and a few years later, his grandmother bought him his first drumset. His plans for the future began to change.

Ulrich's family moved to Los Angeles when he was 16. As his passion for tennis waned, his passion for drumming increased. He placed an ad in a local newspaper, looking for "metal musicians to jam with." James Hetfield was one of the respondents. Five months later, they formed Metallica.


The band released their first album, Kill 'Em All, in 1983, before signing with Elektra. Although their second album, Ride the Lightning, earned them an underground following, it was Master of Puppets in 1986 that began to garner mainstream attention.

Metallica's success was nearly derailed in 1986, when their tour bus skidded off the road during a European tour, killing bassist Cliff Burton. Ulrich, Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammet elected to continue the band with the blessing of Burton's family. Their next studio album, …And Justice for All, broke the Billboard's Top 10.

In the 1990s, the band continued to tour and record, and in the midst of the bustle, Ulrich formed his own record label, Music Company. He also began to speak out against the MP3 file-sharing service Napster. In 2000, the band sued Napster, and Ulrich made a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee about copyright infringement. Some clips of the court hearing are included in the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster, which followed the band from 2001 to 2003.

In 2011, Metallica released their 10th studio album, a collaboration with Lou Reed. Reed reportedly challenged Ulrich to a fight after tempers flared in a recording session, but no physical altercation ever took place.

The band has released 10 studio albums and three live albums, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Ulrich was the first Danish inductee to be honored.

Other Projects

Ulrich made a cameo appearance in Get Him to the Greek, a Nicholas Stoller film, in 2008. He had his first speaking part in the HBO movie Hemingway & Gellhorn, which aired in 2012.

In 2012, the documentary Mission to Lars was released. The film tells the tale of a disabled man's attempts to meet Metallica. Although he was not directly involved in the making of the movie, Ulrich has called it "deeply moving," and supports its distribution. 

Personal Life

Ulrich has been married twice, first to Debbie Jones in 1988, and then to Skylar Satenstein in 1997. He had two children with Satenstein before they divorced in 2004. Ulrich has a third child with Connie Nielson, who he began dating in 2004. They live in California's Bay Area.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!