Kirk Hammett: “My Number-One Advice for Musicians”

(Image credit: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images)

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett was recently interviewed by Brazilian radio station 89FM. The wide-ranging talk included discussions about the group’s latest album, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, and their work with Lady Gaga and Lou Reed.

Hammett answered the interviewer’s question about the most important he advice he would give a band that has yet to be discovered.

“It’s important to be original and have something different to offer,” Hammett says. “It’s really important to be able to come up with something that’s interesting and stands out.

“There’s a lot of bands out there, there’s a lot of music out there—you know, I’ll go out on a limb—a lot of it sounds similar. If you really, really want to be successful, you have to find a sound that’s unique, and a sound that you feel comfortable with so that you can let it grow inside of you.

“That’s, I think, the best sort of information I can really give, is to just be original. Try to have original thoughts.

“It’s okay to be inspired, it’s okay to be moved by other types of music and art, but it’s really important to aspire to something different that hasn’t been done.

“It might sound overwhelming, but that’s how new things get discovered. You gotta take the first steps.”

Hammett recalls that Metallica’s extreme sound was slow to find an audience with the metal community at first.

“When [Metallica’s debut album] Kill ’Em All first came out [in 1983], we were the odd guys on the block. No one wanted anything to do with us. Literally. We were like pariahs, we were like lepers. No one wanted anything to do with us. People would hear we were coming, and if they weren’t fans, they would turn around and just run the other way.

“But, you know, eventually, people came to understand us and understood that what we were doing was different and new, and we had something else to offer.”

He concluded: “My point is, come up with something different. Use some different colors, different techniques, use just a different approach. It will be interesting!”

You can check out the entire interview below.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.