Here’s How Kirk Hammett Pissed Off the Entire Musical Instruments Industry
Metallica’s lovable, huggable, wah-wah-loving guitarist has always had a laid-back, California vibe; it can come off as relaxed, it can come off as friendly, and it can definitely come off as aloof, but one gets the sense there’s a reason Kirk Hammett — despite being in the band [almost] as long as Papa Het and Lars — has typically left those two to be the band’s ambassadors to the public.
Now, left to his own devices to promote his new KHDK line of guitar pedals — which are getting good reviews, it’s worth noting — Kirk done put his foot in his mouth. In an interview with Music Radar about the pedal line, Kirk offered:
We’re all very inspired and very, very excited about this. I think it’s the first time you’ll see a pedal company actually being driven by an actual guitar player, like Tom Scholz and Rockman – I really don’t know of any other guitar players out there who are actually making pedals.
Whoa whoa, now wait a minute… isn’t nearly every pedal maker a musician? It’s not like rocket scientists or brain surgeons are sitting around with their soldering irons thinking, “Hmmm… I know how I’ll make a living… guitar pedals! EUREKA!” The men and women who do this stuff are extremely passionate about it exactly because it’s their lifeblood.
Now, it’s not difficult to extrapolate what Kirk meant here — that he’s one of very few HIGH PROFILE musicians making guitar pedals — but it’s easy to see why plenty of pedal makers / musicians would take offense to his comments, especially 1) when they’ve been slaving away at their craft for decades and suddenly this uber-famous dude waltzes into the room, 2) he’s not really MAKING the pedal so much as providing input on its tone/function and marketing it using his name. And, unfortunately, a whole lot of people took exception when Hammett Tweeted the above quote:
I think it’s the first time you’ll see a pedal company actually being driven by an actual guitar player.https://t.co/FHIoLa3Ltk
— Kirk Hammett (@KirkHammett) February 12, 2016
That Tweet grabbed the attention of myriad pedal makers — including DigiTech, Fuzzrocious, Dwarfcraft, Salvage Custom, Earthquaker Devices, Mantic Effects, Fredric Effects, Greer Amps, Twin Stomp, Caroline Guitar Company… the list goes on — and prompted them to Tweet back in anger, amusement, mocking, or some combination thereof. There have even been a few memes to result from the fracas, and a whole lot of jokes about Hammett’s use of the word “actually.”
— FUZZROCIOUS PEDALS (@fuzzrocious) February 13, 2016
@KirkHammett REALLY? Almost everybody making new and interesting effects today is a musician. Most of us just can't afford full page ads.
— Dwarfcraft Devices (@dwarfcraft) February 13, 2016
@KirkHammett Actual guitarist and actual pedal maker checking in.
— DigiTech (@DigiTech) February 13, 2016
@KirkHammett Nah, yr not the first guitar player making pedals. Kudos for doing something unique like a TS with compression switches!
— Catalinbread (@catalinbread) February 13, 2016
— GreerAmps.com (@GreerAmps) February 13, 2016
— Joshua Koterba (@joshuakoterba) February 14, 2016
— Caroline Guitar Co. (@CarolineGCo) February 14, 2016
— Salvage Custom (@salvagecustom) February 13, 2016
— Keith Burgin (@KeithBurgin) February 14, 2016
— Mo Gotti (@MilkManMo) February 13, 2016
Needless to say, people are pretty pissed… the responses go on and on, from pedal makers and fans alike. I feel kinda bad for the dude because it’s obvious he didn’t mean it the way people are interpreting it, but those taking exception to his comment absolutely have a point. An apology is in order.
In closing, let’s relive the smartest thing Kirk ever said: