Kirk Hammett admits he was "surprised" by how much of a Metallica fan Kurt Cobain was

A montage of images of Kirk Hammett and Kurt Cobain
(Image credit: Future/Frank Micelotta Archive/Getty Images)

As the music world continues to celebrate 30 years of Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, guitarist Kirk Hammett has shared some thoughts about the album's legacy in a new interview.

In conversation with Classic Rock Magazine, Hammett has opened up about his friendship with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and the impact he thinks a record like The Black Album had in turning the mainstream on to more alternative sounds – and thus priming Nirvana for their phenomenal success. 

"Kurt Cobain came to one of our shows in Seattle, on the Black Album tour," he tells Classic Rock's Dave Everley. "I knew Kurt kind of well, and I hung out with him quite a bit. He was a pretty big Metallica fan. I was surprised at how much of a Metallica fan he was.

"Rock radio embracing our sound – our heaviness – helped the whole grunge thing take hold. Not long after the Black Album came out, Nirvana put out Nevermind. I like to think we had something to do with the acceptance of Nirvana."

Speaking on the legacy of the album more broadly, Hammett says: “It’s a cultural force in itself. As much as modern culture changes and morphs, there’s something within that album that continues to resonate around the world. 

"And I mean the world, because it’s big everywhere.”

The new issue of Classic Rock, which celebrates 30 years of the seminal album with new interviews and insights, is on sale now

The Black Album’s legacy is also to be celebrated by a new reissue. As well as collecting together countless early demos and rehearsal tapes, it’s accompanied by The Metallica Blacklist, a 53-track all-star covers album comprising versions of Black Album songs by everyone from GhostVolbeat and Biffy Clyro to Miley Cyrus. Metallica Remastered and The Metallica Blacklist are out on September 10 via Blackened Recordings.

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.