Kirk Hammett Opens Up About His Abusive Father, ‘I Experienced A Lot Of Darkness’

During the Backstaged: The Devil In Metal podcast, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett has shared some memories from his childhood including the time he spent with his abusive father, revealing that it was the music that helped him through his childhood.

Back in 2001, Kirk Hammett spoke about his childhood traumas in a Playboy interview. Saying that he comes from a broken home just like James Hetfield, he claimed that they have bonded over that when he joined the band. Kirk stated that he was abused as a child as his father was an alcoholic and physically abused him and his mother. Hammett then said he rarely left his room after the time when he was 15 and got a guitar, revealing he channeled a lot of his anger into the music.

Hammett’s statements in the Playboy interview were:

“James comes from a broken home, and I come from a broken home, and when I joined the band, we kind of bonded over that. I was abused as a child. My dad drank a lot. He beat the shit out of me and my mom quite a bit. I got ahold of a guitar, and from the time I was 15, I rarely left my room.

I remember having to pull my dad off my mom when he attacked her one time, during my 16th birthday—he turned on me and started slapping me around. Then my dad just left one day. My mom was struggling to support me and my sister. I’ve definitely channeled a lot of anger into the music.

In a recent episode of Backstaged: The Devil In Metal podcast, Kirk Hammett recalled his childhood memories once again, saying he was exposed to a lot of darkness and unfortunate things when he was a child. He then claimed it was guitar playing and music which saved his life as they helped him feel better and calmed him down even now as an adult. Hammett also stated that his guitar helps him with his anxiety and depression up to the present day.

Moreover, Kirk mentioned that he likes horror movies for the same reason. He compared a good heavy metal song to a good horror movie saying that it shares similarities to the darker things in life which serves as a cathartic effect, making someone feel good.

Hammett told Backstaged that:

“I had a bad childhood. I experienced a lot of darkness early on in my life that I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to. Unfortunate things happened to me as a child. And so that real-life darkness came to me way too early in my life.

Basically, guitar playing and music saved my life. And it was a type of therapy for me. It made me feel better when I knew that I wasn’t feeling great. And I was so young. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. And I didn’t know this was because of circumstances and situations. I didn’t put that together. I just knew that guitar playing helped me feel better and calmed me down as an adolescent, as a teenager, as an adult, up to like now. I mean, I have a lot of anxiety and I’m prone to depression, like most people. My guitar helps me through all that.”

He then added:

A good heavy metal song is like a good horror movie. It’s intense, it’s unpredictable. It has a lot of the same feelings of the darker things in life … Your brain just gets that feeling. Like myself, there’s a lot of people out there that when they hear that darkness, that gloom, it’s cathartic. It feels good, you know? It feels like you can get to the darker parts of your life and experience them without really experiencing them.”

Although he had a lot of suffering back in his childhood days, Kirk Hammett still managed to become such a successful musician being the lead guitarist of the legendary heavy metal band Metallica. It can be said that he, fortunately, chose to channel his emotions through music.