Kirk Hammett’s Metallica Ideas Get Shot Down ‘All the Time’
The guitarist sat down with fellow musician, and avid Metallica fan, St. Vincent for a recent Rolling Stone article. During their conversation, Hammett explained that his musical tastes go far beyond his group’s heavy metal sound.
“I’m so curious about music in general,” the legendary rocker noted. “I can play a lot of different stuff. I’ll play some jazz, bossa nova, blues, gypsy jazz, fucking Eastern European ballads. I play all that stuff. But no one knows I can play this stuff. It’s so crazy.”
The guitarist admitted he tries to “sneak in jazz voicings and chords, little techniques here and there” when writing songs with Metallica. Asked if his ideas ever get rejected, Hammett was candid. “All the time. ‘That sounds too bluesy,’” the guitarist scoffed, imitating a response he’s received from his bandmates. “And I’m like, ‘Fucking hell, it’s just a slide. All right, whatever, tone police.’ But you need tone police. Tone is super important.”
One place Hammett is able to infuse his various ideas is the live setting. The guitarist still loves performing and takes pride in the unpredictability of Metallica's concerts.
“I try to bring an element of improvisation to the band so we don’t sound the same every single fucking night. I don’t like rigidity,” he explained. “I came from a generation of musicians whose mantra was never to play the song the same way. I only play certain guitar solos like the album, because I know that’s what the audience wants. But then there are solos where I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to play. I love putting myself into a scary situation.”
Hammett will have ample opportunities to deliver face-melting, improvised solos in 2020. Metallica have announced a series of festival performances, with the band delivering two different shows at five events over the course of the year. Details and ticket information can be at the website.