Kirk Hammett’s year so far has been defined by his activities with both Metallica and Gibson, but the electric guitar titan recently took time away from his formal commitments to record a guest solo on a new single from Goodnight, Texas.
While Runaways is notable for the fact it marks a significant sonic shift for the folk rock outfit – who decided to craft “a beast of a hard rock song” this time out – it’s perhaps the presence of Hammett himself (and of one of rock’s most iconic Les Pauls) that makes the track especially noteworthy for guitar fans.
Boasting a main riff that singer-songwriter Patrick Dyer Wolf says has been “lurking in my drafts like a caged animal”, Runaways sees the band resign their usual ensemble of banjos and mandolins to a minor role, instead opting for a dual guitar attack that reaches its peak when Hammett arrives on the scene.
With a cranked wah pedal – probably the same one he revealed to be his favorite not too long ago – the Gibson and ESP signature artist brings his A-game to the track, wielding Greeny (which recently added another ailment to its long list of injuries) for some scorching pentatonic runs and fiery bends.
Understandably, Goodnight, Texas, are elated with the final product: “This is the hardest we’ve ever rocked on a recording,” Wolf reflects. “That’s thanks in no small part to an actual and absolute vintage Kirk Hammett wah solo on his legendary Greeny guitar, about which I am self-pinching daily.
“The main riff of the song had been lurking in my drafts like a caged animal since our last album,” he continues, “and at some point in the past year we decided it was time to set it free.”
It makes sense that Goodnight, Texas would recruit Hammett to help usher in their new hard rock direction. After all, the band has a close relationship with Metallica: songwriter Avi Vinocur has performed live with the band on multiple occasions – including the first Helping Hands concert in 2018 – and, according to the band’s website, “has worked behind the scenes with Metallica for years”.
That’s why in the video above – which sees Hammett piecing together his lead effort – the guitarist can be caught telling Vinocur, “You're always coming through for the band, bro, so I’m happy to do it.”
As hinted at above, it’s been quite a year for Hammett and Greeny. Over the past 10 months, Peter Green’s Les Paul has been recreated not once, not twice, but thrice for a trio of Kirk Hammett signature guitars: the ultra-exclusive $50k Collector's Edition Greeny, the $20k USA Custom Shop Greeny and the $3,199 USA Standard Greeny.
There’s also an Epiphone version on the way – which Hammett says he prefers to the Gibson Custom Shop model – so there’s still life in that story yet.
Greeny isn’t the only one of Hammett’s ‘Bursts that has been stealing the headlines in recent months. Sunny, a pristine 1960 Les Paul that the Metallica guitarist played regularly up until last year, was recently added to Gibson’s Certified Vintage Collection for $500,000.
In an interview with Guitar World, Hammett compared the two Bursts (using an unlikely fruit/vegetable analogy) while Gibson Head of Brand Experience Mark Agnesi broke down the company’s Certified Vintage program – and debunked a popular myth surrounding the elusive LPs.