Metallica's Kirk Hammett says he's "bored" of playing "that f**king guitar solo in Master of Puppets"

Kirk Hammett onstage, July 2022
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett says that it drives him "nuts" to play "that fucking guitar solo in Master of Puppets", and that he's "freaking bored of it."

Hammett's comments come in a new interview with Total Guitar, and the guitarist admits "what I’m going to say people are probably gonna hate."

In the interview, Hammett discusses how playing the Metallica solos note-for-note in the exact same way for 30-40 years can get a little old: according to the statistics on Metallica's website, Master Of Puppets has been played live by the band 1689 times since it was debuted on December 31, 1985, at the band's homecoming show at San Francisco's Civic Auditorium, just over a week after the quartet returned to the Bay Area having wrapped the recording of their third album in Denmark.

"What I’m going to say people are probably gonna hate, but it drives me nuts having to play that fucking guitar solo in Master of Puppets every time," says Hammett. "People love that guitar solo and they come to see that. That’s fine. For that part of our career, all those solos are locked in. I don’t view them as solos anymore; they’re parts. I’m freaking bored of it, but it’s exciting for people to hear."

"I’m not bored of the solo," Hammett clarifies, "I just get bored of playing the same thing all the time."

You can hear the very first performance of Master of Puppets below, with James Hetfield saying “Time for some new fucking shit...” and informing the Bay Area’s ’Bangers that they were about to hear the title track of the next Metallica album.

In his Total Guitar interview, Hammett says that he took a more improvisational approach his solos on Metallica's forthcoming 72 Seasons album.

"With this album I went in intentionally to improvise 20, 30 solos, give them all to Lars and Greg [Fidelman, producer], and go, ‘You guys edit them!’" he states.

"I know I’m gonna play something completely different live. That’s my thing these days and if people don’t like it, that’s just tough. But I can offer something a lot different than what people hear on the album, and I can offer something different every time you see Metallica. When you buy a ticket to a Metallica show you’re gonna hear different versions of the songs. You’re not gonna hear carbon copy versions of the album."

This approach, the guitarist admits, is not without risk.

"Usually, I surprise myself," he says, "sometimes I die a fucking death."

The full interview with Hammett will appear in Total Guitar issue 370, in shops on April 6.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.