Watch Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Ghost’s Tobias Forge Talk Guitars, Performing Onstage

Prior to Metallica’s show at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England on June 18, guitarist Kirk Hammett sat down with Tobias Forge, frontman for opening act Ghost, for a short video interview.

The two kick off the conversation with a deep dive into guitars. Hammett begins by mentioning that he had found out that morning that Forge used to have a black Fernandes Strat, just like his.

“Those are hard guitars to find in the States,” Hammett tells Forge. “In the Eighties there were only a few places that sold Fernandes guitars and that’s how I ended up with mine. How did you end up with one, all the way in Sweden? Did you contact Fernandes?”

No way,” Forge replies. “I was seven or eight years old, and this must be in ’88 or ’89, and I found one at the guitar shop in Linköping where I was born.”

He continues, “I had a lot of heroes at the time that also played Strats, so for me just having a Strat was just, ‘That’s the guitar.’ Because this was, as I said, the late Eighties, so you had the myriad of colors, neon shit on the wall.”

This leads into a discussion about the wild finishes guitars sported back in the Eighties. Says Hammett, “Guitars back then were crazy. You had tiger-stripe guitars, guitars with the Japanese flag on it. Back then was the era of really badly graphically designed guitars. There were some bad graphics on some of those guitars, women splayed out on the guitars in bikinis, you know. It all reeked of the Hollywood glam hair-metal thing, too.”

From there, the two musicians go on to talk about the WorldWired tour itself, and how they approach each show, in particular the production and performance elements. “For me, whenever we play it’s a real event in my own head,” Hammett says. “So whether it’s, you know, a small theater, an arena, or a freaking stadium with 47,000 people, in my mind it’s all just the biggest event”.

He continues, “Having that mindset allows me to go out there and play the same show, whether it’s a small show in front of 10 people, a medium size show of 10,000 people or a massive show in front of 110,000 people. That’s how I see it.”

Metallica’s current European WorldWired run wraps August 25 in Mannheim, Germany. 

For more information and a full list of dates, head over to

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.