Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said in an interview with Rob Dietrich, master distiller of the band's Blackened American Whiskey, that he's looking forward to celebrating the group's 40th anniversary next year.

Ulrich explained, "It always feels like we're just getting started. 40 f**king years! Yeah, it's crazy . . . All those clichés about 'age is just a state of mind,' but there is definitely a part of me that still feels like all the best years are ahead of us."

The drummer added, "But, listen, it's been an awesome ride so far . . . And it feels like, I guess, in some peculiar way, that we're getting closer and closer. I guess social media, the way that we connect with the fans nowadays, still touring all over the world, the spirit and the way we connect with the fans just feels more and more pure, more and more transparent and more and more honest."

Frontman James Hetfield told us a while back that Metallica prefers to perform as close to its fans as possible: "Whatever gets us as close to the audience as possible is preferred for us. Whether it's in the round or lower or in whatever configuration it takes. We want to get as close as possible and we've succeeded in getting closer and closer."

Metallica celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011 with a series of star-studded concerts. The band's live plans for this year -- which included headlining five North American festivals as well as a South American tour -- have all been canceled or postponed.

AUDIO: METALLICA'S JAMES HETFIELD ON GETTING CLOSE TO THE AUDIENCE