“We always had an eye toward getting the best riffs together, and making sure it was, ultimately, the best of the best”: Kirk Hammett on Metallica’s early days
Metallica axeman Kirk Hammett has looked back on the band’s road to success and the sacrifices the members have made to get to where they are today.
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Speaking with KSHE 95, the guitar icon told host A.D. Rowntree that the band certainly did not expect to make it big and that they were just focused on creating the best music they could during their early years.
“We were all pretty much just obsessed with the music, with the band being well rehearsed for whatever we’re doing, and making it to the next city, the next show, next gig,” Hammett says [via Killer Guitar Rigs]. “That’s all we really, really cared about back then.”
“When I look back at it, we were extremely motivated to do the best we could every single moment of the day as far as the music was concerned,” he adds. “Whether we were writing music, playing music, recording music, rehearsing music…”
“And we always had an eye toward getting the best riffs together, best little nuggets of things we can come up with, and making sure it was, ultimately, the best of the best. Stuff that other bands would say, ‘Oh, this is a great riff, we’ll turn this into a song,’ it wouldn’t be good enough for us. I mean, it had to be the best sort of riff.”
“And also, we toured longer than we probably should have,” Hammett says. “We reinvested in the band to the point where we probably shouldn’t have. We made a lot of personal sacrifices.”
“I mean, we went so far and then more to make sure that we were serving the music and we were playing for the people. And our thing was, Maybe it will come back to us, all this hard work will come back to us. And for years it didn’t ever feel like that; it would feel like we were just gonna play 250 shows every year or whatever we were gonna do.”
He continues: “But then it started coming back to us and we started seeing real success. And that’s when I started thinking, Oh, maybe we will make a difference in the world of music and in culture and whatnot. Maybe we will. It’s hard to figure it out when you’re first starting; it’s hard to see that. You almost have to be delusional to think that way.”
Metallica play their final shows of 2023 on 10 and 12 November in Detroit, Michigan. To see a full list of dates, and to purchase tickets, head to the band’s official website.
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