Since joining the band back in 1983, Kirk Hammett has been Metallica's go-to guy for guitar solos. But due to circumstances, his spotlight parts on the group's latest album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, its first set of new material in eight years, were even more important to him.
During the making of the album, Hammett lost a cell phone that had dozens of songs ideas, leaving bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich to write the material and Hammett to provide his guitar parts. He tells us that was actually liberating, freeing him to spend more time concentrating on the solos than on other matters:
"There's that aspect that I kind of like removed myself from, it cleared the air and it gave me a little bit more of a clearer vision of what I needed to do and what I wanted to do and...to no certain extent did it affect how I approached the solos because...I would think, 'OK, this is my one time to, like, really put my mark on the song. But at the other side of the coin I arrived at the song with absolutely no, like no attachment to any sort of outcome and no attachment to what I might have contributed to the song previously to that point, and so I think to a certain extent that did affect the outcome of how the guitar solos ended up sounding at the end...There was an effect on my playing somewhat, for sure."
Hardwired... was released November 18 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Metallica is currently on the road in support of the album.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.