The Chelsea Ram is a pretty cool pub. Patrons have included Joseph Feines, Gary Moore and Jack Bruce, Kate Bush and Prince William and Prince Harry. For those of you who haven’t experienced English pubs, especially those in London, you should know that nearly all bar staff are Australian. Most of them find bar work sociable and a good way of earning money which they can save – as many pubs have live-in accomodation – so they can travel around Europe.
Lars (Hi Lars) was in town and invited us out to dinner in London’s West End. We headed back to ours in Chelsea afterwards around 11. English people are not as obsessed with ice as Americans are, and we didn’t have enough, so Lars and Ricky headed off to the Ram to get some. Unusually the bar was only staffed with girls (Australian obviously) and Lars, being the social animal he is, stayed chatting to people until well after closing time. Armed with bags of ice they headed back home to continue the nights revelry.
The next evening I popped into the Ram on my way home from the studio. There were three guys and one girl looking after the bar – the girl being one of the staff working the previous evening. “Hey,” she said. “Who was that really cool American guy who was in here last night. He was great fun.” The three boys, knowing I worked with many musicians, leaned over to listen. “He’s in a band,” I said. “Which band?” she said innocently. More attention from the guys. “Metallica,” I said. “It was Lars Ulrich – the drummer.” The three barmen nearly fell over. “Lars? Here?” one croaked.
Metallica have a huge fan base in Australia, and these three guys I knew were massive fans. “We all had the night off last night,” said one of them pointing to the ceiling. “We decided to stay here rather than go to clubs.” He held his face in his hands. “We were listening to Metallica upstairs all night. Now you’re telling me Lars was actually here? HERE?”
Ricky had arrived by then and he walked over to the distressed Aussie and pointed at the bar in front of him. “Actually,” he said, “it was just HERE!” It took them days (possibly longer) to get over it. Well it would wouldn’t it? What are the chances of Lars dropping in to a local pub in London where the Aussie guys had travelled thousands of miles to randomly find themselves working in … and then MISS HIM? Tragic really but you gotta laugh.