Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has sung the praises of the band’s one-time therapist Phil Towle, who helped the metal titans during a particularly tumultuous period.

Ulrich recently sat down with folk hero Phoebe Bridgers for Rolling Stone’s “Musicians on Musicians” series. The interview saw Ulrich detail the important role that Towle played in keeping the band sane, despite his less-than-flattering portrayal in 2004’s Some Kind Of Monster documentary.

The documentary followed the Metallica camp following the departure of bassist Jason Newsted, and James Hetfield’s rehab stint. Phil Townes was hired by the band to help them navigate the tricky time.

“It was a difficult time with Phil,” Ulrich told Phoebe. “And as easy a target as he is to make fun of, whenever I get asked about it now, I find myself defending him. He did save the fucking band. I think you and I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to each other if it wasn’t for him.

“It was a very transitional, experimental time,” he added. “We’d been a band for 20 years, and we realised we never had a fucking conversation about how we’re feeling, what being in Metallica is doing to everybody. It was just this fucking machine. And then Hetfield had to go away and deal with some of his issues, and then that opened up this whole thing.”

In related news, Lars Ulrich recently offered a positive update on the health of James Hetfield following his rehab admission.

“We’ve been together for two weeks, we’ve played a whole lot and we’ve had really good vibes. So he’s definitely back! But I do not think that I should say that he’s ‘out on the other side of rehab.’,” he told Danish program Tiny TV.

“I think if he was here and was interviewed, he would probably say that it’s a constant process. It is not a process that at any point ends for him.”