Guitar World Follows Kirk Hammett Through Metallica's 2013 Orion Music + More Festival
This is an excerpt from the September 2013 issue of Guitar World magazine. For the rest of this story, plus a Tosin Abasi poster and features on Tosin Abasi, Misha Mansoor, Ben Weinman, Asking Alexandria, Jason Newsted, a seven- and eight-string buyer's guide and more, check out the September 2013 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
“We’re definitely guilty of over-obligating ourselves as a band,” Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett says with a laugh. “The Orion festival requires a lot of energy, and it’s different from our regular Metallica shows, where we show up, have a bite to eat, do our warm-up and meet-and-greet, and go onstage. That’s easy compared to today.”
Guitar World has traveled to Detroit to shadow Hammett during the second annual Orion Music + More festival, which brings together an eclectic lineup of musicians and activities personally curated by Metallica.
A couple of hours before the festival’s gates open on Belle Isle Park, a surprisingly picturesque island in the Detroit River, we meet up with Hammett in Metallica’s backstage lounge. And from the looks of things, he’s handling the pressure pretty well. In between taking spins on a scooter and playing games of Metallica pinball, the guitarist excitedly describes what’s in store for the 40,000-plus fans that will soon begin streaming into the festival.
“We’re trying to be all inclusive,” he says. “We don’t want it to become a big metal fest, which is easy to do in our case. We wanna give young new bands opportunities to build their audience, no matter if they’re metal, alternative, gypsy punk or whatever.”
Over the next two days, audiences will be treated to performances by more than 30 musical acts ranging in diversity from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Infectious Grooves and Dropkick Murphys to BASSNECTAR, Rise Against and Silversun Pickups. Fans will also be able to stroll through James Hetfield’s Custom Car + Motorcycle Show and Hammett’s Kirk’s Crypt horror collection, check out the Metallica memorabilia museum, watch movie screenings at drummer Lars Ulrich’s Hit the Lights Films tent and witness pro skaters pulling tricks on the Vans 30-foot vert skate ramp.
When he’s not performing with Metallica at Orion, Hammett will be introducing the bands that he picked to play at the festival, including All Shall Perish and Gogol Bordello, checking out live sets from bands like Fu Manchu and Deftones, and hosting roundtable discussions with classic horror movie celebrities—all of which are responsibilities that he happily accepts.
For the rest of this story, and a hell of a lot more photos from Orion, check out the September 2013 issue of Guitar World at the Guitar World Online Store. In the meantime, be sure to check out the sample photo gallery below!
Photos: Jimmy Hubbard
BONDED BY BLOOD SCAR
Before joining Metallica, Hammett was a founding member of Exodus. “We were all drunk one night and [former Exodus singer, Paul] Baloff goes, ‘We’re blood brothers!’ And he whips out this razor blade. Well, you know why we had that back then… So we start cutting our hands and then rubbing them together. We’re yelling, ‘Bonded by blood!’ I left the band, like, four weeks later. [laughs] But I’ve still got my scar, and so does Gary [Holt].”
“These guys are from Eastern Europe, and they play a lot of their own ethnic music, but put a Western twist to it. It’s insanely good. I jammed with them at Bonnaroo [Music & Arts Festival] with Les Claypool. The rehearsals for that were unlike anything else I’ve been a part of. At one point I was trading licks with the accordion player, who was just ripping! And I don’t know where the singer, Eugene [Hütz], gets his fashion sense from…but it rocks!”
KIRK’S CRYPT – ELECTRIC CHAIR
“I wish I had the Ride the Lightning guitar with me! [laughs] What can I say? I’m a dork! Kirk’s Crypt is the product of dorkism. And I’m the King of the Dorks! Well, at least for this weekend.”
KIRK’S CRYPT – JUMP IN THE FIRE
“This is our second time doing Kirk’s Crypt, and it’s even better than last year. First you walk through the haunted-house section, with the zombies and freaks walking around, and then you turn the corner and see the reproduction [of the demon] from our Jump in the Fire EP. Look how badass it is!”
Hammett enjoys the toys in Metallica's backstage lounge.