Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kirk Hammett Talks Guitars, Technique, and More in Recent Interview

On September 15,'s Joe Matera interviewed Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. Below is an excerpt from the chat:


UG: Have you started in any manner the songwriting process for the next Metallica studio album?

Hammett: No, but we do have riffs here and there, but there are no complete songs as yet. But we all have tons of music that is just lying around; in fact all of us do. That is the great thing about Metallica; there is never any shortage of ideas.

UG: You just performed a series of Big Four shows [Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax]. What was the experience like?

Hammett: The shows were really great and it was a vibe, man. It was like the eighties all over again, which was very, very cool. We all kind of realized that we are all in this together and that we all had the same sort of objectives and goals. It's just that we had different ways of getting them. At the end of the day, it became more of a celebration of the fact that we are all still around and all standing and still functioning as bands, and that was a very cool thing. And it was a chance for us to kind of reflect and look back at all the times we had together and all the battles we had fought. It was good to know that all of us are still here and still doing it.

UG: When it comes soloing, what do you think are the important elements that each guitar player should consider when constructing a solo?

Hammett: Ideally, a solo should be like a good meal. Start off with a bang then have a good meaty middle section and then have a sweet finish. For me when it comes to the solo part, the first couple of licks really need to set the tone of the solo. And it should really just jump out and grab you.

UG: So is there anything that you specifically pay attention to when coming up with your own solos?

Hammett: What I have always tried to do is to come up with catchy things - you know, hooky parts in the guitar solo that will grab the listener's attention. I will try to put melodic parts into that. But, you know, sometimes I just want to make a bunch of noise.

UG: How do you think you have evolved as a player over the course of your career?

Hammett: That is a hard question to answer, man, because I am so close to my own playing. But I say that I intend to work on my jazz playing more now. You know, I think as a metal guitar player, I am decent. I am no Eddie Van Halen, but I am still learning, am still learning stuff day to day and still feel like I am growing. I also still think that my music writing is still getting better. I'm still on the up and up and I don't feel like I have reached a plateau. I still think there is a lot more for me to do and learn. And I am still very motivated to do that.

UG: Do you have any ambitions to some day to venture out and do a solo album?

Hammett: Yeah, eventually, but right now I have to say that Metallica is my home and I have no intentions of running away from that home. But I am going to put a book though. I am working on it and that in itself feels like I am making a solo album because it is so much goddamn fuckin' work! It is all myself. I don't have a band I can rely on or seek support. So I think once I do this book thing, maybe I may start considering doing a solo album, but I don't know.

UG: Looking back on the St. Anger album and its lack of guitar solos, what do you think of that album today?

Hammett: I still love it, man. I think "Frantic", "Dirty Window", the title track, and "All Within My Hands", those are just great fuckin' songs and some of my favorite. Frankly, I'm quite shocked that people have such an attitude and issues with it, because for me, it is just another Metallica album.


This interview can be found in its entirety at

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