Metallica axe-man Kirk Hammett revealed in a recent interview that if he ever put out a solo album, it would be weird, unique and “would not look like a metal album at all.”
Rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse Metallica is in the last stretch of their epic WorldWired Tour right now. The odyssey began in October of 2016, and is scheduled to wrap up in 2019 after more than 150 performances.
During a short pause in their epic journey, heavy-metal magazine Metal Hammer chatted with Kirk Hammett, one of the most revered guitarists of the last three decades. Not only is he majorly talented, he helped define the sound of rock music after the new wave of metal in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
In the conversation, Hammett once again professed his discontent with his restrained role in Metallica’s controversial 2003 album, St. Anger, an issue he has spoken about before. For some odd reason, for what was their eighth studio album, the band decided to drop one of its most distinctive traits: solos.
“I guess it was appropriate for the time, but looking back, it doesn’t seem so appropriate to me now!” Hammett told Metal Hammer.
“I will always object to that, but I think the message was driven home after that album, that solos are needed in Metallica! People look forward to hearing them. So for me there was a weird vindication.”
St. Anger was the band’s final collaboration with longtime producer Bob Rock and released while they were waging a very public war against Napster and digital piracy.
Metallica opted to defy expectations on the album. They exchanged the solos, intricate arrangements and high production value of their previous efforts for a more direct, stripped-down style.
Many fans and critics applauded the move as a brave change of pace, while others felt cheated that Metallica had neglected the essence of what made their music successful.
It led to rifts within the band itself. When asked if Kirk Hammett would ever consider a solo album, he said:
“I have so much material sitting around that’s obviously not Metallica stuff, and that pile gets bigger and bigger. One of these days when it feels right.”
“I still feel I have so much to give Metallica. When that feels more complete, maybe I’ll think about doing that other stuff.”
“It would not look like a metal album at all, it’ll be something so weird and far-ranging in styles, but cohesive at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of us did some solo, independent, autonomous sort of thing. I think it’s healthy, and if anything, when you come back to the band you’d come back with more enthusiasm. It’d feel like going on a little camping trip, and it’s always good to come back home to a nice warm bed!”
One of the last remaining warriors in a long line of guitar heroes, Hammett doesn’t understand why the instrument has been progressively fading away from mainstream music.
“I don’t know what the fuck it is, but people seem to be seeing the guitar in a different light, and passing them up for fucking samplers and whatnot. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Like all instruments, there’s a time when it goes out of fashion.”
“In the early ’80s the guitar wasn’t as popular as it became again in the mid-80s, so we’ll see what happens as far as enthusiasm is concerned with the actual act of making music with a guitar. It’s sad news to me, but I hope Gibson prevail. They have in the past.”
The next stop in Metallica’s world tour will be this October 13 in Austin, Texas.
[Feature image courtesy of Alberto Cabello]