Lars Ulrich (born December 26, 1963) is a Danish American drummer best known as the co-founder of American heavy metal band Metallica. He was born in Gentofte, Denmark to an upper-middle class family. A tennis prodigy in his youth, Ulrich moved to Los Angeles, California at age sixteen to pursue his training, but instead of playing tennis, he ended up as a drummer. After publishing an advertisement in a local Los Angeles newspaper called The Recycler, he met James Hetfield and formed Metallica.
Lars' father, Torben Ulrich, who was an acclaimed tennis pro from the late 1970s into the early 1980s, was also a musician, playing jazz with giants such as Stan Getz and Miles Davis; legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon was Ulrich's godfather. In February 1973, Torben Ulrich obtained five passes for five of his friends to a Deep Purple concert that was being held in the same Copenhagen stadium as one of his tournaments. When it was discovered that one of the friends could not go, their ticket was handed over to the nine year-old Lars. The young Ulrich found himself mesmerized by the performance, buying the band's Fireball album the very next day. The concert and the album had a considerable impact on Ulrich, inspiring his entrance into the world of rock and roll and later on, heavy metal. As a result of his newfound interest in music, he received his first drum kit from his grandmother at the age of thirteen, a Ludwig. Lars' original goal and reason for moving to America was to play tennis, but the plan was later changed when he formed Metallica.
Later on in life, in 1981, Lars discovered a British heavy metal band called Diamond Head. He was so excited about their style of music after getting hold of their 1980 debut Lightning to the Nations that he traveled all the way from San Francisco to London in order to see the band perform live at the Woolwich Odeon. However, the young Lars had not planned the trip out particularly well and was left without anywhere to stay after the gig. However, he managed to meet the band backstage and explain the lengths he had taken to see them. The band warmed to him and lead guitarist Brian Tatler let him stay with him in Birmingham, where Lars spent the next few weeks touring with the band. Lars still remains a big fan of the band and even helped mix their Best Of album.