Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 101
put it out, and don't try to predict
what people are gonna say. Hope for
the best, but brace yourself."
We spoke with Hammett and
frontman James Hetfield during
the first half of Metallica's European
tour, which will resume in February and
where, night after night, they stage two of
the most valuable guitars on planet Earth.
with the 'Burst
in the late '60s.
What first drew your attention to
Seeing a documentary about Jimi
Hendrix, where he sits on a stool, playing
a Zemaitis 12-string, I decided, "That's it.
I'm getting a guitar." (Ed. Note: the 1973
film was titled Jimi Hendrix and the guitar
is now at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).
I traded $10 and a Kiss album to a friend
for a Montgomery Ward guitar with an
amp that was the size of a jukebox. I was
on my way (laughs).
Peter Green: Tony Gale/Pictorial Press. Greeny: Bill
Glassner/VG Archive and Jeff Yeager (headstock).
By the '90s, the band stood alone as the only
metal (thrash, not heavy!) band too big to be
quelled by the grunge steamroll that crushed
the genre. As power-pop and proto-punk
then turned the tables, Metallica remained
a force by holding tight to a musical M.O.
that simultaneously reinforced its standing
amongst loyal fans and brought new ones
to the fold. In November of 2016, the band
10th studio effort, first
in eight years, and first on
its own label. In testament to
its staying power, the double
disc set became the band's
sixth consecutive studio
album to debut at #1 on
Billboard's Top 200 in
the U.S. (it also reached
the top spot in 56 other
countries) and to date
has sold more than three
is a mix of old-school
Metallica in the way it
calls to task the music
industry and addresses
drug addiction. In other
ways, it's topical, as with "Dream No
More," an ode to original bassist Cliff
Burton, and "Murder One," written in
honor of late Motorhead singer/bassist
Lemmy Kilmister. For better or worse,
the disc drew a lot of critical comparison
to the band's early work, a fact (sort of)
bemoaned by guitarist Kirk
"There was a lot of
to Ride the Lightning
and the 'black album'," he said. "But
I realized long ago
that people see and
hear things the way
Greeny's twicerepaired headstock.
What were your first licks?
I tried to pick out bits and pieces of solos
by Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck -
the simpler, more melodic stuff. The very
first song I learned was "Purple Haze." I
picked out parts of Page solos from The
Song Remains the Same because I was
listening to it day in and day out. I learned
a lot of the simpler Zeppelin riffs, like
"Dazed and Confused" and "Communication Breakdown."But
from the get-go I was
able to improvise. I'd
only been playing for
about two weeks when
I formed a band with
friends; one decided to
play bass, another decided
to sing, and we knew a guy
for three or four years.
I was always the lead
player, even when I
could barely play
a song. Within
the first couple
did 20-minute versions
me i n t he
to come up with
some sort of solo;
I'm sure it sounded
like garbage. Thankfully, no one recorded it!