The Truth About Motley Crue And Lars Ulrich's Feud

There's nothing like a tall glass of rock-and-roll drama in the morning, which happens to be around 3 p.m. rock-and-roll time. In this "Why are those people fighting?" piece, we're here to talk about the feud between Mötley Crüe and co-founder of the band Metallica, Lars Ulrich.

The feud dates back to the early '80s. Both bands were up-and-coming, blasting out metal through Hollywood as they climbed their way to fame. The feud wasn't short-lived. In fact, there have been new incidents as recently as 2015, long after both Metallica and Mötley Crüe have reached the heights of heavy metal superstardom. Most rock "feuds" involve a harsh word here and there or headlines that mirror "Why don't you see so-and-so together?" In this case, fans have gotten everything from a near brawl between the metal musicians to drawn-out hate letters. The real metal stuff. None of that "I'll see you in court" business.

Size doesn't necessarily win fights, but it tends to be an important factor in a lot of them We're not sure if you know this, but Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx stands a full seven inches over the 5' 6" Lars Ulrich. Luckily, the two have never come to blows, but there was a time that they almost did, and it was all due to Ulrich's big mouth.

It all started with Ulrich running his mouth

Metallica and Mötley Crüe were up-and-coming bands at the same time, in the same neighborhood. This, as you might surmise, caused a little tension. They were two very different breeds of metal, but there had to have been some competition over fans. One night, a very long time ago (1982), Lars Ulrich was hanging out, not minding his own business, when he almost got pummeled by Mötley Crüe.

"One night out in front of the Troubadour we're standing there in our Iron Maiden shorts and after a couple of, you know, cold Schlitz malt liquors, we saw Nikki [Sixx] and Tommy [Lee]," Ulrich told Rolling Stone in 2015That's when he decided it was a bright idea to yell "F*** Mötley Crüe!" at the incoming rival band. The towering bassist shot off after Ulrich, who ran for his life to avoid a beat-down. "And the one thing I could do, all five-foot-six of me, is I could run faster than he could in his 16-inch platform boots," said Ulrich.

Ulrich's near beat-down seems to be the beginning of the Mötley Crüe-Ulrich feud, but it certainly wasn't the end. In 1997, Ulrich accused Mötley Crüe of performing to a tape at the American Music Awards, which, according to Blabbermouth, they actually did.

A decades-long feud

It's not uncommon for performers to lip-sync to prerecorded songs as a way to save their voice and make sure they sound as good in a studio as they do on the road. The problem is that people see bands live to hear them, well, perform live.

When Nikki Sixx heard about Ulrich's allegations, he posted a letter to the Metallica drummer on an online forum. "Dear, Sweet, Fat, Balding, Larz (love the make-up, babe!)," Sixx writes, "taking your ever-moronic soapbox position on a subject that's NONE of your f****** business has made you out to be an a****** as usual. Considering that me and Tommy know that your live tapes have been re-recorded. And ALL your instruments were repaired in Pro Tools (and had that b**** to lie to your fans an call it a 'live' album)." Sixx then goes on to accuse the drummer of throwing stones at glass houses and all that jazz.

What do we mean when we say the feud between Mötley Crüe and Lars Ulrich has a "step-brother" vibe? It's because Mötley Crüe seems to think that they're the only ones allowed to give Ulrich a hard time. And they definitely do give him exactly that.

The feud has a weird step-brother vibe to it

Even in recent years, the band hasn't exactly laid off the Metallica drummer. For example, in 2015, Tommy Lee, Mötley Crüe founding member and drummer, posted an image of Ulrich to his Twitter account with the phrase "Straight Outta Tempo." But Mötley Crüe has also come to Metallica's defense in the past.

In 2003, Nikki Sixx posted another letter online, taking a position fans probably didn't expect. "I've been the one on the receiving end of this stick so many times I've learned to have sympathy even for the enemy," Sixx says. "What is with all the negative tounge slashing [sic] on METALLICA's new music. I haven't heard the first song yet. But you would think they have committed some sort of a crime the way fans are going on about the song. Of course few have heard the album so how can so many be telling us the whole thing stinks?"

The Mötley Crüe bassist even admits he was a fan of Metallica's Black Album. The letter served as a rare insight into the world of heavy metal superstars, showing that the "feud" between the two bands is likely more of a game than something serious.