Metallica Did Consider Firing Lars Ulrich
Hammett played down the rumor, saying it was more frustration at the time than serious consideration of firing Lars. "You know, that was just an old thing," Hammett said in the interview with PYX 106 (via Blabbermouth). "I think at one point or another, we were pissed off at Lars, around maybe 1985 or something.
"We were unhappy, and we might have grumbled something to someone. And then that person might have picked up on it and made it something a lot bigger than it actually was."
Hammett may have been referring to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. They report that Ian wrote about Metallica wanting to fire Lars in 1986 in his autobiography "I Am The Man".
Ian claims that Hammett and late bass player Cliff Burton told him that "they couldn't take being in the band with [Ulrich] anymore and were done putting up with him. I didn't ask why they were gonna kick Lars out. I figured it was because they wanted a better drummer, but apparently there was also a lot of business-related stuff going on behind the scenes they weren't thrilled with."
Hammett went on to praise Lars in the interview, saying, "To be completely honest, [Lars] has a lot of drive, and that's a part of the reason why I love the man. His drive and his motivation is just so intense, you know."