Metallica: 'We're Just a Little Thrash Band From San Francisco'

"At the end of the day it just comes down to music," Kirk Hammett explains.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
30

Metallica's Kirk Hammett gave a bit of an inaccurate description of his band, dubbing the metal giants "just a little band from San Francisco."

Chatting with Metal Hammer, the guitarist reached the subject while discussing the latest Grammys performance with Chinese pianist Lang Lang. "The whole Lang Lang thing just surfaced in one week, like, 'OK, we've been invited to play the Grammys with a classical pianist, here's the track, do you want to do it?'

"We were like, 'Sure!' even though we're just a little thrash band from San Francisco."

The last sentence instantly struck a chord with the interviewer, who then asked Kirk to elaborate further. "Maybe in my mind," Hammett confessed. "I think maybe we want to think of ourselves as a little thrash band from SF. Sure there's managerial situations and strategies and whatnot that we’ve used to become bigger, but at the end of the day it just comes down to the music.

"When we're all gone, the music is gonna live on, and that's gonna be our legacy, not selling out four stadiums in a row in Sweden or playing with Lang Lang at the Grammys," the guitarist added. "It's gonna be someone discovering 'Disposable Heroes' in 2086 and thinking, 'This is really cool stuff, what year is this? 1986, wow!'"

In recent news, Metallica were announced among Heavy Montreal 2014 headliners alongside Slayer and Lamb of God. The August show will mark the band's only North American summer date this year.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    sdbrown89
    Kirk seems to down to earth and modest, there really isn't much an ego to him at all!
    sideslick
    He also seems like he has the most "real" personality in the bunch. Watch any of his "Behind the Music" appearances when interviewed about the death of Cliff Burton. It just makes you just want to try and hug him through the screen...
    CronoMagus
    He had a little fire in him when he was talking shit on Dave Mustaines solo for Jump in the Fire. It's in a Youtube video about when they are going to reintroduce the song to their setlist. I think from 2004 or so. Still, that being the only instance in 30+ years is insane lol. He's very zen.
    MaggaraMarine
    Are you talking about this?
    It's not Dave Mustaine's solo. Kirk played the solo on the record. (While it's pretty similar to Dave's solo on "No Life 'Til Leather" demo, it's still different and has Kirk's own touch in it.)
    Exodus.666
    I love Kirk. He's a great guitar player and a great guy. I never understood why so many people hate on him. Sure he's not the best, but music is not about that. Music is about emotion, and Kirk has that emotion. When Kirk is playing, I always feel like his guitar is singing. That's what Dimebag did and I respect players that play from the heart. RIP Dimebag by the way \m/
    DimeBatteryDrrl
    how can you have an ego when you struggle to play your own songs live today? Lars' monitors are James and Rob only, for several reasons. And you can hear alot of sloppy playing on pretty much all the Death Magnetic tour audio files on metallicalive.com. His rhythm and ability to stay in the pocket are shit, and he can barely get through some solos. and has changed some to avoid parts he straight up cant play. But i will say that when he wants to do better he definitely can. When I saw them in Anaheim in 2009, he pooped all over songs like trapped under ice and shortest straw, but then at the BIG 4 in California, he totally tore through the set. I just wish he practiced more
    Dynamight
    Not much place for an ego when you're a mediocre guitarist who landed in the most popular metal band of all time.
    thelosah36
    Kirk's definitely my favorite member of Metallica.
    noilly
    On a website for guitarists, saying the guitarist is your favorite seems a little funny
    sideslick
    I like James the most, musically. Kirk is the one I want to meet the most, as a person.
    RnFnR95
    got to meet them all last summer, they all seemed so great, Lars didn't even seem like a douche he was cracking jokes and asking trivia about our city, but Kirk and James were definitely the coolest ones to meet, Kirk was so modest when i told him how much of an inspiration he is to me
    DeathCS-Fan
    Been a while since I actually threw a metallica record on. Glad he mentioned Disposable Heroes. Savage tune!
    Random9000
    Refreshing article amidst all the other stuff UG has posted with his name on it.
    Abacus11
    Metallica are a "little thrash band from San Francisco" like Donald Trump is just a small business owner trying to scrape by in New York.
    captainperoxide
    Metallica have a much better financial record than Trump. Dude's declared bankruptcy what, twice?
    travislausch
    As much as I try to hate Metallica: "It's gonna be someone discovering 'Disposable Heroes' in 2086 and thinking, 'This is really cool stuff, what year is this? 1986, wow!'" This is the kind of legacy any self-respecting musician should try to aim for. Not "is it going to make me loads and loads of money I don't need now", but "are people still going to consider this artistically relevant hundreds of years from now?"
    oxymoronicman
    Did anybody else start listening to Disposable Heroes when he mentioned Disposable Heroes?
    bit64
    I believe that at the momement,the only member of the Delayca being in the mood to write some music is Kirk.And i also think that he wants to do something old-school once more.With or without the others.No matter what the scenario is,Kirk is awesome!
    Slayer35
    All the members of Metallica are so down to earth and humble, I love it. Lars and James are by far my favorite members though.
    postmortem2006
    Modest, props to him for that at least. Calling themselves a thrash band nowadays is a joke, though.
    morbidguitar
    He meant to say TRASH band.
    James_Het_Rules
    And the trolling award goes to.... Morbidguitar, for least supportive actress! *applause*
    morbidguitar
    Its been a great experience, we all had a lot of fun. I'd like to thank my favorite bands, Slipknot, Korn, linkin park, Slayer, Foo Fighters and of course Metallica for their continued contribution to my music collection.
    brian.maccarthy
    Idk how anyone could saythey sold out and says that they only do it for the money because it doesn't fit their style or needs if you are opened minded enough you'll respect whatever they do as I do every single album from kill me to death magnetic I have picked apart and supported. This is them and only them making the music and of you do not like it don't listen. Simple as that
    BlackDeath92
    How old is the picture in the article? I thought Kirk stopped playing Jackson guitars in the late '80s! I could be wrong though...
    troyofyort
    If I recall correctly, he still uses his Jackson V live today for a few songs like Sad But True.
    Filipus
    Its pretty recent, that face is from 2007 and forward. I would say its from 2011-2014
    FERAL1975
    Smartest thing they've ever said and is the reason why they've struggled with so much expectation from the fans over the years.
    Doomzdayxx
    If memory serves me correctly, they stopped playing thrash in the 80's in favor of making alot more money, what the hell is he talking about? I would respect these guys more if they were like "hell yeah we sold out because we want our music to appeal to a larger crowd so we'll be rich as F**K!! So kiss our ass and come by our records" Better than "we like to reinvent ourselves!" gimme a break. What a cop-out.