Enlarge Kirk Hammett by Gordon Correll, via Flickr.

Kirk Hammett on Getting Metallica’s Blessing to Go Solo: “Those Guys Know I Ain’t F***ing Going Anywhere”


When guitarist Kirk Hammett first announced his solo EP Portals — which dropped today — everyone’s immediate thought was that times have definitely changed for Metallica, who used to be adamantly against side projects. Now, Kirk has explained how the band have grown in terms of outside art, and what it was like getting his bandmates’ blessing to go forward with the EP.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Kirk revealed that he was initially shocked that his brothers in arms gave him the go-ahead:

“I was also pretty shocked that I got the complete band’s blessings on it. It was amazing because our band has not had a lot of great progress with band members going solo, as everyone knows. But all that went down almost 20 years ago, and we’re such different people now. We’re all just older, wiser, and more mature…

“Well, I don’t know if we’re wiser, but we’re definitely older, and a little bit more mature, a little bit more responsible. So something like this takes on a different sort of meaning now than it would have 20 years ago.”

Reporter Kory Grow brings up a 2001 Playboy interview where James Hetfield said, “When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of Metallica.” He then asks what’s changed since then. Kirk’s response:

“Well, we kind of see it like this: We’re not musicians, we’re artists. Ethically, morally, and creatively, it’s wrong to deny someone the opportunities to express themselves and create. And I think that’s kind of where everyone is sitting right now. Also, now we’re so much more accepting of what happens in our lives because so much stuff has happened to us in the last 20 years — so much stuff has happened in the last five years.

“I think we’re a little bit more aware of our own mortality and how much more time we have as functioning artists, musicians, and band members. So there are other things that are more important to consider, like the longevity of the group, the mental health of the group, the creative energy of the group.

“And those guys know I ain’t fucking going anywhere. Metallica is my fucking bed. Metallica is my home, and it would be fruitless to leave the band because, if I did, people would be reminding me every single day of how I was the Metallica guitar player.

“I don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to resist that. I want to always fucking be seen as just another guy in Metallica trying to make the best music along with these other three guys because that’s basically what we do. That’s our calling. It’s what the freaking universe wants us to do. I think along those lines.”

Well, we’re glad it all worked out, because the EP is rad! Listen to Kirk Hammett’s Portals below.

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