Lars Ulrich explained why he doesn't like to "stray" far from Metallica, and admitted his appearances at the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows earlier this year were uncomfortable but rewarding experiences.

In a recent appearance on Howard Stern's SiriusXM show, Ulrich discussed his feelings on working outside the confines of the thrash icons.

"I think a big part of the fact that Metallica, 41 years in, is still as functional as we are is because we just haven't strayed a lot," the drummer said. "Of course, Kirk [Hammett] has gone and done his solo stuff, James [Hetfield] did something with one of the Waylon Jennings kids a few years ago. I've done one or two things, and [Robert] Trujillo goes back to Suicidal [Tendencies] occasionally and Infectious Grooves, but we don't stray a lot."

When Dave Grohl invited him to take part in the Hawkins shows, Ulrich said he agreed immediately. "And kind of straying outside of the Metallica world is not the most comfortable thing for me," he added. "I think a big part of why we just love staying inside the Metallica universe is because there's that safety in numbers, and we just support each other and have that thing. But playing with Grohl and the other three Foo Fighter guys, and then at Wembley we did an AC/DC set with Brian Johnson… it was so much fucking fun to play."

It helped that he felt comfortable with the material. "Playing those AC/DC songs is right in my wheelhouse," he explained. "If they had said – I mean, I love Rush – [but] If they had said, 'Come up and play '2112'' with Alex [Lifeson] and Geddy [Lee], I'd go, 'I think there's somebody more qualified to do that than me.' … [I]t would take a lot of rehearsal, a lot of prep. '2112' would probably be too much of a bite of the apple for me! But in terms of just feeling comfortable, and kind of doing the thing that exists sort of where I am, that AC/DC stuff is right in my pocket. I love that so much."

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