Lars Ulrich discusses his favourite guitarist of all time

Lars Ulrich

Despite experiencing great success with heavy metal icons, Lars Ulrich has never wavered in his love of rock music. Ulrich remained the excited young fan thrilled to see his favorite rock bands regularly, even in the face of Metallica’s meteoric rise in popularity. Even though Ulrich respects a lot of metal bands, like Black Sabbath, his personal favorites have always veered slightly away from traditional hard rock.

Although among the many bootleg cassettes Lars Ulrich collected, he has always been a huge fan of Deep Purple. Even though they played for crowds comparable to most bands from the late 1960s during the “Summer of Love,” Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore had goals beyond traditional rock and roll. The band started to change the heavy rock scene when Ian Gillan and Roger Glover joined.

Especially Blackmore became an innovator when writing guitar riffs with Jimmy Page. Ulrich considered Blackmore the pinnacle of guitar virtuosity, even though some albums seemed to benefit more from his simpler contributions. In an interview with Metal Mayhem, Kirk Hammett once mentioned one of his favorite guitarists—who also happens to be Ulrich’s all-time favorite.

He declared, “Lars and I adore Deep Purple.” Ritchie Blackmore is one of my favorite guitarists, so I’ve always loved it. Lars’s all-time favorite guitarist is Ritchie Blackmore. When I first heard “Highway Star” when I was fifteen years old, I thought it was incredible. It spoke to me [laughs]. Yes, Lars and I occasionally jam on Purple songs since we both know a lot of them.

He went on, “It’s really difficult to cover Deep Purple.” Covering Rainbow is less difficult than covering Deep Purple. Although the guitar parts are usually fairly challenging, what about Ian Paice’s drum parts? Crazy indeed. Afterward, you have John Lord’s entire keyboard collection. Deep Purple relied heavily on keyboards; if you covered Purple, you have to have the keys!

In an interview with Louder, Ulrich recalled being shocked by Blackmore’s performance when he first saw Deep Purple. He stated that he first went to a Deep Purple concert. Even at nine years old, I can still picture him playing the black-and-white Stratocaster with his foot or scuffing it up against the PA speakers. I was influenced by that. He was, in my opinion, the greatest guitarist of that generation and the quintessential guitar hero.

Blackmore, who is well-known for his technical skill and creative guitar solos, combined hard rock and classical elements to create a unique sound that effectively defined the band’s overall sonic palette. His fiery fretwork, inventive style, and complex melodies elevated him to the status of the ultimate guitar maestro.

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