“Thank you Neil,” Ulrich wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for inspiring me and for all your help and advice along the way, especially in the early days when you took the time to talk to a young green Danish drummer about recording, gear and the possibilities that lay ahead…”
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Ulrich continued, “Thank you for what you did for drummers all over the world with your passion, your approach, your principles and your unwavering commitment to the instrument!”
As Ulrich revealed in a 2014 Guitar Center interview, Metallica’s manager in their early years, Cliff Burnstein, also signed Rush to Mercury Records a decade earlier, so the band sometimes leaned on Rush for advice. “[Burnstein] said ‘You want to talk about Neil Peart about drums?’… Talking to Neil was like the god of gods,” Ulrich said.
“So I actually managed to get enough guts to dial the phone number that I was given and I called him and it’s like I spoke to Neil Peart for a half an hour about Tama drums, it was pretty amazing.” Soon after, Tama sent Ulrich a drum kit to his specifications; the Metallica drummer continues to use Tama drums to this day.
Peart died Tuesday following a lengthy and unpublicized battle with brain cancer. Metallica also paid tribute to Peart by posting a previously recorded concert video of guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo jamming out Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” onstage:
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