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Torben Ulrich, Beloved Father of Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Dead at 95

Torben Ulrich, Danish tennis pro, jazz writer and father of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, has died at the age of 95.

Lars shared news of his father’s death in a social media post Wednesday. “Torben Ulrich: 1928-2023 95 years of adventures, unique experiences, curiosity, pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo, tennis, music, art, writing….and quite a bit of Danish contrarian attitude,” he wrote. “Thank you endlessly! I love you dad.” The caption was accompanied by a series of photos of his father including a black and white portrait, a magazine cover naming him “The Ageless Guru of Tennis,” and photos of Lars as a child with Torben.

Torben, who gained a reputation as Metallica’s toughest critic, is best known among metal fans for his scene in 2004’s Some Kind Of Monster documentary. When asked for his opinion on a new song during the writing sessions for what would become 2003’s St. Anger record, his father pointedly replied, “I would say, delete that.”

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When speaking to Rolling Stone in 1995, Lars reflected on growing up around his father’s love of jazz and fellow musicians. “My dad was always around music. He was hanging out with Sonny Rollins, Don Cherry, Dexter Gordon. Dexter Gordon was my godfather. I used to play with Neneh Cherry when we were little kids. Her stepfather, Don Cherry, lived like six houses from where we lived in Copenhagen,” said Lars. “Those types of people were always around. Even though tennis was his main source of income, my dad was also writing about jazz in the papers in Copenhagen. Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman were always playing in the stereo around the house. Later it was the Doors and Jimi Hendrix.”

In 2021, Torben released his own jazz album at the age of 92. Titled Oakland Moments: Cello, Voice, Reuniting (Rejoicing), project featured him playing alongside cellist and composer Lori Goldston.

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