James Hetfield Further Explains Kirk Hammett’s Lack of Contributions to Hardwired
Much has been made of Kirk Hammett’s lack of contributions to the writing process for Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. Metallica’s always predominantly been the Hetfield and Ulrich show, but hey, this is 2017 on the metalwebs, where Metallica are the only band that matters and everything they do will be needlessly picked apart!
So: following the revelation that Kirk Hammett lost a cell phone containing 250 song ideas immediately prior to the group’s writing process for Hardwired — about which Hammett was, understandably, incredibly bummed — James Hetfield has gone on record with the U.K. radio station Planet Rock to claim there might’ve been other reasons for Hammett’s lack of writing input. When asked about the lost cell phone, he said:
“That’s what he tells us [laughs], so I take that as the truth. No, he submitted some riffs. I mean, not ‘submitted’… We all pile in our ideas, and they’re in the giant Metallica riff pile, and Lars is the one — since he’s not writing any of the riffs — he sifts through ’em and he’s able to identify ’em. He’s got a great ear for the riff, and he’ll hear things that I don’t hear. I think, ‘Hey, this riff is great,’ and, ‘Yeah, but what about this part of this one?’ [And he says] ‘Nah, it’s not so good.’ And, ‘Let’s take that…’ So he’s not a guitar player, so it’s an unorthodox approach at picking riffs, which is great.
“But as far as Kirk… Kirk was not present in the studio. He was dealing with life. He had a lot of life things going on for himself, which he’ll choose to talk about if he wants. But, you know, [it was] Lars and I steering the ship as usual, going through the riffs, creating the songs. And I got to do a lot of guitar stuff that I was missing around Death Magnetic and St. Anger — some of the harmony guitar things, harmony vocals… You know, a little more layering, like the ‘Black’ album.”
Two things of note in James’s quote:
1) “Not present in the studio” is an entirely different thing than not contributing ideas. Perhaps it was the case that Hammett wasn’t around for the album’s recording sessions as he would’ve been because he hadn’t contributed more to the writing process, but it still says something that he simply wasn’t there. Perhaps — likely — there’s more to the equation than will ever be known publicly; who knows what Hammett was dealing with in his personal life at the time?
2) “Lars and I steering the ship as usual.” Par for the course, right? So really we’re all making a whole lot of hullaballoo about nothing. Hey, like I said, metalwebs 2k17!