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Kirk Hammett: "Metallica are not perfect as people. We make mistakes left and right"

Kirk Hammett
(Image credit: Jeremy Saffer/Metal Hammer)

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has shared his thoughts on his debut solo release, Metallica's "creative energy" and where he and metal's biggest band might go next.

Speaking to RollingStone.com on the day he releases his first solo EP, Portals, Hammett admits, "I was pretty shocked that I got the complete band’s blessings on it.”

Famously, James Hetfield's anger at Jason Newsted pursuing creative ventures outside Metallica played a key role in the bassist walking away from the band in 2001, but Hammett says that the San Francisco band are now "older, wiser, and more mature."

"Ethically, morally, and creatively, it’s wrong to deny someone the opportunities to express themselves and create," he says.

"I think we’re a little bit more aware of our own mortality and how much more time we have as functioning artists, musicians, and band members," the guitarist continues. "So there are other things that are more important to consider, like the longevity of the group, the mental health of the group, the creative energy of the group.

"And those guys know I ain’t fucking going anywhere. Metallica is my fucking bed. Metallica is my home, and it would be fruitless to leave the band because, if I did, people would be reminding me every single day of how I was the Metallica guitar player."

Elsewhere in the interview, Hammett says the fact that he longer drinks alcohol has played a part in his growth as an artist.

"I got sober seven and a half years ago," he tells writer Kory Grow, "and that was amazing because I felt like I’d gotten my brain back after just spending so much time just fucking either being hungover or drunk."

"We’re just such a fucking human band," he adds. "We’re not perfect as people. And we make mistakes in our personal lives left and right." 

Asked if Metallica are currently working on a new album, Hammett gently deflected the question, saying, "I’m not supposed to really talk about it, but I’ll just say that we’re working."  

For the full interview with Kirk Hammett, visit RollingStone.com

Watch the video for his solo track High Plains Drifter below:

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

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. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.