Auf Amazon.com ist folgendes Interview mit Lars Vater Toben Ulrich zum Thema SKOM erschienen:
Who Was That Bearded Man?
Torben Ulrich, father of Lars, speaks about Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, his own fascinating career, and what it's like to be a rock & roll parent.
Although his appearance in Metallica: Some Kind of Monster was brief, the consensus is that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich's father Torben stole the show. Torben's résumé holds its own in any crowd: he was a jazz clarinetist who played with Louis Armstrong (among others), and a tennis pro who won matches at numerous international tournaments, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Davis Cup. He is currently a writer, painter, filmmaker, and a practicing Buddhist. He has the look of a mystic, but don't be fooled--as the film demonstrates, Torben can still be brutally honest when it comes to his son's music. Since he managed to awaken so much curiosity among movie fans, we had Amazon Editor Leah Weathersby sit down with him to get his thoughts on the film, rearing a rock star, and how he found time to pursue so many diverse interests.
Amazon: How did you find the time to pursue so many interests?
Torben: It was a constant problem in the late '40s and early '50s. Sometimes, since I wanted do all these things, I never got any sleep. Maybe I played tennis in the afternoons, and then I would go play music at night, and then after that I had to go up to the newspaper and write reviews, and after that maybe I would go meet some of my friends in the morning and have breakfast, and then I had to go to band practice at noon and play tennis at 3:00. All of a sudden I hadn't slept for three or four days. After three, four, five days like that, I usually ended up in the hospital with exhaustion.
Amazon: I just expected you to say something like, "I didn't watch TV."
Torben: At that time there was very little TV.
Amazon: I also read that Lars was a promising junior tennis player.
Amazon: Until you took him to see Deep Purple.
Torben: I didn't do that. It was one of my friends, a South African tennis player called Ray Moore. [Lars] was very young at the time [in the early '70s]. After that, he got interested in all of those kinds of music and would often go on his own. In those days in Denmark, a child of eight or nine could take the bus to the concert hall and listen and then come back on their own. And then sometimes he would fall asleep in the bus and the conductor would say, "Now it's time to get up and go home." I don't know that one could send one's child away to a concert nowadays in the city that easily and still be called a responsible parent.
Amazon: Were you disappointed that he didn't pursue tennis?
Torben: No, no. The main thing was that he do what he thought was his choice--not our choice. But, in order for him to know that more clearly, we encouraged him to leave Denmark for a year and travel to Florida, to a place called the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. He went there when he was 13 or 14. He was very interested in tennis at that time, but he was also very interested in music. After a year he still wanted to go out and listen to the concerts and I think at the Academy they were not so keen that he stayed out, so he was reprimanded there for keeping some late hours.
Amazon: In Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Lars played you a possible piece for their next album, St. Anger, and you were a little dubious about it--you said something like "delete that." Did you like the final album?
Torben: Yes, I liked it.
Amazon: Do have any favorite tracks?
Torben: Ah, no. Not particularly. But I liked bits and pieces of it, the overall approach.
Amazon: How do you think growing up in the Copenhagen jazz scene prepared Lars for a career in music, and do you hear jazz influences in his music now?
Torben: He heard a lot of different kinds of music at home. We were listening in those days to the Stones, the Beatles, Cream, Eric Clapton. All of those people were beginning to emerge, and we as Europeans were certainly listening with big ears to that. And also in our household we had always been extremely interested in the whole blues and gospel situation that related to jazz. Then of course after Deep Purple, (Lars) would hear a lot more Kiss and Thin Lizzy, and all of those bands. So on the one hand, he was hearing Indian music, all kinds of Asian music, Buddhist chants, classical music. His room was right next to the room where I played all this music all night long, and sometimes maybe he would have heard them even while he was sleeping, so he could have picked up a lot of this stuff even without being conscious of it. So the environment certainly was not--I wouldn't describe it as a jazz environment in a narrow sense.
Amazon: In the film, they mention that Metallica was nicknamed "Alcoholica." As a parent, did that ever worry you?
Torben: Yes, in the sense that if they took that into situations where they could get hurt... Always when you're a rock & roll parent you think that some car accident could happen. When they were in high school they would go to [a practice space] that was 45 minutes or an hour away, and then come back at 10 or 11:00. So yes, in terms of, would they make it home alive. No, in terms of being concerned so much with drinking. I certainly also have done my portion of drinking, so I'm not going to be raising any fingers in that category.
Amazon: In the filmmakers' commentary, [Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger] mentioned that you said this was not a movie, this was a film. What did you mean by that?
Torben: One thing that I thought was interesting about the film was that it started out as some kind of public relations thing. Quite often on television you would see these things about the bands, these sagas showing the bands in a glorifying way. In the sense that this went some other way--that it took, on its own, another turn than what was expected of it--that was something I thought was interesting. That particular night when I heard all this new music [for the upcoming album] at maybe 4:00 in the morning, we went away from the studio in two cars. We were going in our car to where Lars was staying, and then James and Phil--they went in [the other car]. We came to a light and James rolled the window down and was grinning and saying "Goodnight," and "See you tomorrow." Then he went that way and we turned this way and nobody saw him for a long time after that. The next day he turned himself in [to rehab]. It was certainly a surprise to all the people who were there the night before. And the film in some sense also turned on that event. So what I like about that--like I like the improvisational aspects of music and life in general--[is that] the film in some sense turned unexpectedly on itself.
Amazon: On the Internet they've called you the "metal Gandalf." How do feel about that title?
Torben: That's just fine. I can be called anything.
Amazon: I read that you were once scolded by [well-known saxophonist and clarinetist] Sidney Bechet. What happened?
Torben: When I was very young, he was my [musical] mentor. In 1953 I was playing in a tennis tournament in Berkley, and Sidney Bechet was playing at the Downbeat Club in San Francisco. [I was playing] with someone who, in order to annoy, he lobbed--hit the ball way up in the air. Even when I was standing way back in the back of the court. At a certain point I said to him that if it was that important for him to be annoying in order to win, then OK, but I thought he should just play. But he continued even more so. So then I just said "Thank you, but I'm not so interested [in playing] like that," and I walked away from the match. That was written up in the San Francisco Chronicle. The next day, Bechet called me on the telephone and said that I had been naughty. He was admonishing me to show more patience.
Amazon: I expected [the scolding] to be about playing the clarinet.
Torben: No, no. Well, in some sense maybe it was about the clarinet. It was about staying the course, or showing patience.
Amazon: Is that something that you had trouble with while studying music?
Torben: In some sense, you can apply it to whatever you do. Of course, stay the course, but take your leave at the right moment.
Amazon: I think that means the interview's over!