As Metallica prepare to embark on their 2017 Worldwired tour, it's only natural to wonder how these lifelong metal vets manage to stay in fighting shape on the road — and how much longer they'll be able to keep it up.

Drummer Lars Ulrich looked back on his decades with the band in a recent interview with The Ringer, offering a bit of insight into how the members of the band manage life on the road at this stage of their career. Unsurprisingly, their backstage regimens have changed quite a bit since their hard-partying early days.

For starters, Ulrich pointed out that when scheduling tours now, Metallica line up shows in two-week increments so they aren't away from home too long. And while they're out, they do what they call "basing" — keeping a home base where they can live while taking care of a corner of the map. It all helps keep the experience "somewhat tolerable," but it's arguably less important than the dietary and fitness steps they take to handle the physical punishment of performing such aggressive music.

"People come backstage, and we’re drinking these nasty f---ing protein shakes," said Ulrich. "People want a f---ing Jack and coke or want you to shoot f---ing speed into your eyeballs or whatever. It’s pretty far from that and has been pretty far from that for some time. Now, it’s just about being in tip-top physical shape and going out there and delivering the best show you can. Listen, I’ll still have a glass of wine or a glass of champagne. But it’s not quite what it used to be."

At this point, the members of the band all have families and outside concerns. Ulrich describes Metallica as more of a 9-to-5 commitment than an all-consuming drive. Which, as he sees it, is what's enabled the group to stay together so long.

"We all sort of shifted our lifestyle choices at the same time," he pointed out. "I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with the fact that we’re still a functioning band. It all gave us something additional to talk about, and it all gave us kind of another unified vision [of] how to look at the world."

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