"We reinvested in the band to the point where we probably shouldn't have. We made a lot of personal sacrifices": Kirk Hammett on how Metallica's "almost delusional" attitude to success ultimately paid off

Kirk Hammett
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Power Trip)

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has spoken about how the band's "almost delusional" drive and ambition ultimately paid off.

Speaking to A.D. Rowntree of KSHE 95 ahead of prior to the band's November 3 show at the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri, Hammett admits, "We reinvested in the band to the point where we probably shouldn't have."

"When I look back at it, we were extremely motivated to do the best we could every single moment of the day," the guitarist states, "in terms of, as far as the music was concerned, whether we were writing music, playing music, recording music, rehearsing music, and we always had an eye toward getting the best riffs together and best little nuggets of things we can come up with and making sure it was ultimately best of the best. When we were putting music together, stuff that other bands would say, 'Oh, this is a great riff. We'll turn this into a song,' it wouldn't be good enough for us. I mean, it had to be the best riff."

"And also, we toured longer than we probably should have," he continues. "We reinvested in the band to the point where we probably shouldn't have. We made a lot of personal sacrifices. I mean, we went so far and then more to make sure that we were serving the music and we were playing for the people. And our thing was, Maybe it will come back to us, all this hard work will come back to us. And for years it didn't ever feel like that; it would feel like we were just gonna play 250 shows every year or whatever we were gonna do."

"But then it started coming back to us and we started seeing real success. And that's when I started thinking, Oh, maybe we will make a difference in the world of music and in culture and whatnot. Maybe we will. It's hard to figure it out when you're first starting; it's hard to see that. You almost have to be delusional to think that way."

On a personal level. Hammett says that watching a Jimi Hendrix documentary at the cinema when he was 14 was a defining moment in inspiring him to become a musician. 

"I thought, Wow, he looks like he's having the time of his life," Hammett recalls. "And that's what I wanna do."

Watch the full interview below:

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.