Kirk Hammett: Metal helped me survive teenage years

Kirk Hammett
Kirk Hammett (Image credit: Getty)

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett says heavy music helped him survive his teenage years.

The guitarist discusses how metal can give people an emotional outlet and a sense of belonging – and describes it as “outsider music to the max.”

Hammett tells That Metal Show: “Heavy metal speaks to a certain type of personality. The personality that likes heavy metal is very passionate about their music. It’s outsider music to the max.

“I think a lot of people view heavy metal as their companion. A lot of people view metal as a place where they can go, where they feel like they can belong. The subject matter is largely based on people who are on the fringes of society. They need an outlet. You take that away from them, they’re going to get angry. They’re going to get pissed.”

He continues: “Heavy metal solved a lot of my problems as a teenager, when I couldn’t express myself and I was just frustrated. I would go to my room and put on a metal album and feel instant relief. When someone tries to take that away from you, you’re like, ‘No, I need that for my own survival.’

“These people look to the bands for this outlet, for this opportunity to make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger. It gives them a sense of community. They look to these bands to create the music to make them feel these emotions.

“When the bands veer, the people don’t get the same sort of emotions, and they get very passionate and vocal about it. They’ll speak their mind.”

Metallica have released footage of their Tuning Room performance and the Fifth Member meet-and-greet event at their stop in San Jose, Costa Rica earlier this month. Watch it below.

Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far

Dec 17: Oakland Fox Theater, CA
Jan 11: Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, South Korea
Jan 18: Beijing Le Sports Centre, China
Jan 20: Hong Kong AsiaWorld-Expo, China
Jan 22: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
Feb 03: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 05: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 07: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 09: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Mar 25-26: Sao Paulo Interlagos Racetrack, Brazil
Mar 31-Apr 01: Buenos Aires Hippodrome San Isidro, Argentina
Apr 01-02: Santiago Parque O’Higgins, Chile

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Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.