During their ongoing European tour, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN (an acronym for the facility’s French name, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). Based in Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, CERN operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world and is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web.
While on site, Ulrich and Hammett spoke with CERN‘s Connie Potter about their interest in science. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how they became interested in science as children:
Kirk: “I was an avid science student. At one point, I wanted to be an astronaut when I was in elementary school. I was into model rocketry — I built rockets. I always maintained my fascination with science and all sorts of science — all sorts of different types of science, from basic physics all the way to quantum physics.”
Lars: “I grew up with a father who has been very interested in physics, very interest in philosophy, very interested in [the] universe and particles and everything. Most of my schooling came not only from the Danish public school system, but came from hanging out with my dad and staring up into space and the night sky and talking and listening and being around my father, who was very interested in everything about the universe and history and big bangs and black holes. I spent a lot of my youth listening.”
On what they thought of their visit to CERN:
Kirk: “It’s just amazing to see the real cutting-edge of science right now, and to stand in front of it and look at all the different aspects of all these different experiments. It’s very, very humbling to know that there’s something like this that exists in our world at this time. It’s amazing. It’s incredibly humbling.”
Lars: “It’s amazing to see the passion, the knowledge, the inquisitive minds here and how everybody, this is their particular niche the same way that our thing is music and all of us as humans, we’ve ended up… we’ve chosen music for our particular niche, but all the rest of the scientists and physicists and everybody who’s here have this particular thing that they’ve ended up in, and that’s their life, and that to me is just fascinating. I’m taking it all in.”
On whether they think they might have ended up pursuing a career in science if not for music:
Kirk: “Like I said earlier, I really wanted to become an astronaut. Watching the moon-walk on national television in 1969 really made a big, big impression on me, and I’ll never forget that. If things were different and I had a different sort of ability, I would have liked to have become an astronaut, or at least an aerospace engineer or something, because I love that whole branch of science. It’s really, really amazing to me.”
Lars: “If for some reason I decide to not do music full-time or turn professional, then I’ll come and knock on the door here and go, ‘Connie, I’m back for seconds — let me in! Does my pass still work? Do you need somebody to crawl inside the cloud tank?’ Or I could maybe be the first guy that could be shot around the accelerator, like the human cannonball. I’m up for anything. If you see me wandering around aimlessly on the campus, that’s me.”
METALLICA has played 17 shows in Europe since early February and has another eight dates booked between now and mid-May.
METALLICA recently announced the details of the 2018-2019 North American leg of of its “WorldWired” tour in support of the band’s latest album, “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”.
The 34-date trek kicks off September 2 in Madison, Wisconsin and runs through March 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each ticket purchase will be accompanied by a physical or digital copy of “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”.
METALLICA‘s “WorldWired” trek was the fifth-highest grossing tour of 2017, with 1.5 million tickets sold and $153 million earned. The band was also the top-selling rock act of the year and had the third best-selling rock album.
Had such an epic time yesterday chatting with @larsulrich and @kirkhammett from @metallica about #CERN, particle physics, dark matter, and all sorts of other things at the the @atlasexperiment control room. What amazing people! https://t.co/LNM1U7Q170 pic.twitter.com/gWZU6UL3De
— Claire Lee (@Claire_Lee) April 11, 2018