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.

Peter Green
with the 'Burst
in the late '60s.

KIRK
HAMMETT
What first drew your attention to
a guitar?

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
released Hard-

wired... to
Self-Destruct, it's
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
million copies.
Lyrically, Hardwired...
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
Hammett.
"There was a lot of
comparing Hardwired
to Ride the Lightning
and the 'black album'," he said. "But
I realized long ago
that people see and
hear things the way
they want.
You make
an album,

Greeny's twicerepaired headstock.

March 2018

101

VINTAGE GUITAR

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
who'dbeenplayingdrums
for three or four years.
I was always the lead
player, even when I
could barely play
a song. Within
the first couple
months, we
did 20-minute versions
of "Purple
Haze" with
me i n t he
middle trying
to come up with
some sort of solo;
I'm sure it sounded
like garbage. Thankfully, no one recorded it!


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