METALLICA Guitarist Kirk Hammett - "The Album We're Working On Now Is A Locomotive Coming To Mow You Down"

June 6, 2008, 10 years ago

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In a new series of articles called Secrets Of The Guitar Heroes, Rollingstone.com has a new interview with METALLICA's Kirk Hammett. Here are a few excerpts from the chat:

Rollingstone.com: You have been working on the new Metallica album for almost three years. How do you know which riffs and solos to keep and which to throw out?

Hammett: "I know whether I'm cutting it or not. And I always try to make a solo the best it can be. I recorded over 100 solos for one track on this album - and the solo is only 25 seconds long [laughs]. But it's apparent when the solo works that it's all there. It's either 'Wow!' - or it's not good enough. It's that black-and-white."

Rollingstone.com: How would you describe your role in Metallica's two-guitar sound?

Hammett: "James [Hetfield] and I have always been complementary. We've never gotten into guitar squabbles, like a lot of bands with two guitar players do. His approach is primal - rhythmic and percussive. Mine is more technical and fluid. I see the guitar as a bunch of scales and tones. I write riffs and arrange chords to make sure they fit tight harmonically. On a lot of the albums we did in the Nineties, I was doing orchestration, looking for something that fit over a certain part to make it more exciting - a texture, a chord, a little lick here, a chug there. We've strayed from that. We've gotten back to the one-voice guitar thing we did in the Eighties. The album we're working on now is about Metallica as a single thing - a locomotive coming to mow you down.

Rollingstone.com: Is there a solo on the early albums that was a breakthrough in your playing?

Hammett: "When the other guys heard the solos on 'Creeping Death' and 'Ride The Lightning' [both on 1984's Ride The Lightning], it was a different aspect of soloing than they were used to. [Original lead guitarist] Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH) played fast all the time. I play melodically. And I play parts, different sections that make the solo as hooky as possible. Although I've always been very flashy. I admit it."

Read more here.



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