Kirk Hammett: I quit drinking… now I can play anything

Well played: Hammett with Metallica in Colombia this month (Image credit: Getty)

Kirk Hammett says he’s playing better than ever since he stopped drinking – and now the Metallica guitarist can perform anything he wants to.

The thrash icons release highly-anticipated 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on Friday (November 18) with an intimate show in London that’s to be streamed live across the world.

Hammett tells Guitar World (via Blabbermouth): “The whole mental preparation for this album was different. I used to wind myself up so much before I went into the studio, but I’m finally feeling much more comfortable in my abilities.

“I feel like I’ve turned another corner – I’ve reconnected with my instrument. I quit drinking, which changed things.

“On nights we had shows, I’d play the gig, go out afterwards and get drunk, then go back to my room and play for a couple hours.

“I still do that. But the big difference is I don’t drink any more, and I retain what I played the next day. These days I feel I can play anything that I really set my mind to, whether it’s Paganini or a jazz standard.

“It might take me a couple of weeks – but I can do it!”

Hammett recently admitted he felt left out of the creative process during album sessions after losing a phone containing hundreds of riffs he’d planned to bring to the band. But he says that forced him to take on a new mindset for the new record.

“I didn’t work out anything before I walked into the studio,” he reports. “I just showed up and played. I wanted to capture a moment, keep it spontaneous and make it fresh, and see where it goes – because I’ve been guilty of overthinking.”

The band have added another date to their ever-expanding WorldWired 2017 tour. They’ll appear at Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico, on March 1.

Meanwhile, they’ve released a live video of classic track Master Of Puppets, recorded in Guatemala earlier this month. The band have announced the November 18 release of a radio interview conducted by Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, with details to be released in due course.

Metallica are the cover stars of the latest edition of Metal Hammer, on sale now in print and via TeamRock+.

Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far

Nov 18: London House Of Vans, UK
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 01: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Mar 31-Apr 01: Buenos Aires Hippodrome San Isidro, Argentina
Apr 01-02: Santiago Parque O’Higgins, Chile

Metallica Hardwired… To Self Destruct tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Now That We’re Dead
  4. Moth Into Flame
  5. Dream No More
  6. Halo On Fire

Disc 2

  1. Confusion
  2. ManUNkind
  3. Here Comes Revenge
  4. Am I Savage?
  5. Murder One
  6. Spit Out the Bone

Metallica's Kirk Hammett on healing power of the guitar

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.