Metallica credit The Rolling Stones with resurrecting the band.

The heavy metal outfit's drummer Lars Ulrich says the 'Paint it Black' hitmakers helped bring the band back from the brink after a fallout in 2004, when they invited the 'Nothing Else Matters' group to support them on two dates of their 'A Bigger Bang' tour in San Francisco in 2005, which were Metallica's only shows that year.

Lars said: ''For us it's all about inviting people in and making ourselves as accessible as possible to fans. That period [in 2004] certainly wasn't easy for us and, since then, we have learned boundaries and where our breaking points are.

''That was the last time we had a real break - we haven't shut down the band in 14 years, but we disappeared then for about a year.

''And then The Rolling Stones called us up and said, 'Come and play some shows with us in California,' and we sort of agreed you're not going to say no to the Stones, so that was it.

''It gave us the way to start it back up again. Whether you're a team in an office or a bunch of dudes in a rock and roll band, at some point people have to figure out how to get along and work as a team.''

While Lars admit Metallica - also made up of singer James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bass player Robert Trujillo - ''had a lot of fun'' when they first started touring in the 1980s, the drummer says the group are more into ''treadmills, protein shakes and vegan food'' nowadays.

He said: ''We put out our first record when I was 19 and we were touring all over Europe and America. I was suddenly on a tour and helping myself to what was on offer. That's fine, and I would dare anybody to not do that.

''We had a lot of fun, but you settle down in a relationship and have kids, and nowadays it's treadmills, protein shakes and vegan food.''

While the 55-year-old star still likes to have an alcoholic drink after a show, he doesn't indulge ''very often'' because he prefers to stay in shape.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column, Lars added: ''The main thing I still enjoy is an alcoholic beverage, unfortunately not very often now - it's kind of sad, actually.

''After the show, sure I still enjoy a drink, but you've got to stay in shape. You've got to have an awareness of what you need to do to man up, suit up and make it happen on stage.''