Kirk Hammett on Leaving Exodus to Join Metallica: I Thought Metallica Could Be So Much Better With Me

"When I look back at it now it really feels like I was fulfilling my own destiny."

Ultimate Guitar
Kirk Hammett on Leaving Exodus to Join Metallica: I Thought Metallica Could Be So Much Better With Me

Kirk Hammett talked about leaving Exodus to join Metallica in 1983, telling British GQ (transcribed by UG):

"I formed Exodus when I was 15 or 16 years old, and by the time when I was 20 years old we had been going through some personnel changes.

"There were some issues between me and the other guys in the band. They started doing different drugs than I was doing. [Laughs]

"It opened up a divide, and then the invitation to come join Metallica came and I jumped at it. Things weren't so great in Exodus at that point, but they fixed themselves and they got it together after I left.

"And secondly, I kind of recognized after seeing Metallica that I would probably be better playing with them. I actually got that.

"It was a very sobering thing to think that while I was watching that thinking, 'These guys are really great, they can be so much better with me.' I actually had that thought.

"And then literally two weeks later I got a phone call to join the band, and it was almost like destiny. When I heard my friends say, 'Come to New York' it was almost as if I was expecting that phone call and expecting that invitation

"It was just a strange feeling - when I look back at it now it really feels like I was fulfilling my own destiny and having some sort of like consciousness about fulfilling it."

If you want to check out a more detailed story of Kirk auditioning for Metallica, you can read it here.

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    he is actually right, Creeping Death, Sandman, both are his work. EDIT: was
    I think it was only the bridge riff that Kirk wrote, though.
    Nope, it's the main riff. Bob Rock tweaked the arrangement of the riff, but it's Kirk's.
    Creeping death is a cover, Metallica didn't write it...
    Except they did.
    Angelwitch wrote creeping death...
    Wow, I never noticed it until now. The tempo, rhythm, vocals, lyrics, drums, bass and lead are all entirely different but everything else is exactly the same! Good ear...
    If angel witch writes creeping death and no one is around to hear it.... Did they ever write it?
    Listening to that song right now, doesn't sound like Creeping Death at all, there's one riff that sounds a bit like For Whom The Bell Tolls, though.
    Wait, you don’t think angel of death (angel witch) and creeping death sound similar, do you?
    They both start with that E on the E-string to a higher E on the A-string thing, except they both are doing it in a completely different way lol
    Creeping death was a song that Dave Mustaine gave to metaillica and they use to play it live befor he join the band!
    I remember that before Hardwired came out, people were still laughing at Kirk for losing his phone, but they still loved him. After Hardwired came out, it's like anything he says is wrong. Cut the guy just a little slack dudes. I don't mean to defend him not writing new material but he's still a good guitarist.
    Honestly man, I think it's Lars. He told him to be spontaneous and then they did a bunch of studio comping and the solos weren't as good as what he's done before but the album was pretty good otherwise.
    Quite strong words for someone who's basically played the same minor pentatonic licks for the last 30 years.
    So he thinks he's better than Mustaine? hahahahahahahahaha
    Oh man 😂 Kirk is only a big name because he's in metallica. I don't hate him but if he was in another band no one would care about him. He plays the same scale every time he solos. Dave mustaine is a guitar god his problem is when he's interviewed he always says something polarizing.
    Metallica is not even that famous when Kirk join's them. He help built up the band to where it is now. While Dave is great guitarist he become famous as the Metallica ex-guitarist.
    Him being there didnt really add anything though. I like Kirk, but his contributions to the creative aspect of the band is very little. And I would argue he is the weakest link of the band. In all honesty Lars and James built up the band where it is today accompanied by Kirk.
    In Metallica there are no weakest link. They are still thinking they can't make music without each other
    If they can replace Cliff, they sure as hell can replace Kirk.  Of course they would never say Kirk is a weak link. They're practically family. But looking at creative contributions and talent, Hammett is the absolute weak link without a doubt.
    Well of course he thought he could add to the band. Who auditions thinking they can't?
    Ummm....exodus is better than metallica ...sooo Kirk leaving exodus...made exodus better?
    Exodus is f'ing awesome. But they're not better than Metallica. Even THEY would tell you each his own though...
    Kirk is a cog in a machine which is fuelled by Lars and James. Lars is so rich that he could buy all of our houses and make us homeless in a whim so I wouldn't say anything bad about him on internet.
    Still had to wait for that gold plated shark tank bar.
    There is still literally millions of combinatios on e minor pentatonic scale and when you play it fast and random enough you'll turn into Dave Mustaine.
    Ignore comments from this account, it's been hacked!
    Did the hacker just realize that he should have compared creeping death and that angelwitch song himself before parroting some nonsense he read on facebook?
    I just gonna say this, James and Lars seem to control what goes into each song.  I think Kirk brings plenty.  Just depends on if the other two think its worthy.