Kirk Hammett recalls Donington pig attack

Kirk Hammett

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has recalled being attacked with a pig’s head and a ham sandwich while playing the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington in 1985.

And he’s told how the moment came to be immortalised in the album artwork of classic album Master Of Puppets.

He lived through the experience soon after he’d become a vegetarian, which made it all the more unpleasant for him.

Speaking in a video that promotes their book Back To The Front, documenting the making of Master Of Puppets, Hammett says: “Someone threw a pig’s head up on stage. I couldn’t believe it. someone actually went to a butcher’s shop, got a pig’s head, put it in some sort of receptacle, drove, carried it into the show and waited for the moment to launch that pig’s head.

“I remember seeing it flying through the air and it landed by Cliff. Cliff didn’t even notice, but I noticed immediately – being a vegetarian you notice things like that.

“Right when I thought, ‘What’s going to happen next?’ my guitar got plastered with a devilled ham sandwich. I knew it was devilled ham because I could smell it, and like I said, I’d just become a vegetarian.”

He played on while thinking angrily: “My guitar smells like devilled ham – this is killing me!” while his roadie and photographer Ross Halfin looked on from the side of the stage.

Hammett adds: “I remember looking over to my guitar tech, who was laughing, and Ross Halfin was standing right next to him, and Ross took the shot. That’s the shot that’s on the back of Master Of Puppets.”

The deluxe edition of Back To The Front is available via Moonrise Media. Metallica release 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on November 18, and plan to add many more dates to their tour schedule, which currently includes a run of South American shows.

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Metallica 2016 Latin America tour dates

Oct 26: San Juan Coliseo De Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Oct 29: Quito Parque Bicentenario, Ecuador
Nov 01: Bogota Hipodromo De Los Andes, Columbia
Nov 03: Guatemala City Estadio Cementos Progreso, Guatemala
Nov 05: San Jose Estadio Nacional, Costa Rica

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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.