Kirk Hammett Reveals What Makes James Hetfield A Difficult Bandmate

Metallica’s M72 World Tour will make its way to the big screen, with live performances set to be broadcasted from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on August 18 and 20. So, a little ahead of this event, Kirk Hammett joined an interview with Rick Beato. During the chat, he shared his thoughts about James Hetfield and explained their relationship:

“The fortunate thing when James and I started playing together is we basically come from the same musical places. It’s just like [Black] Sabbath, UFO, Aerosmith, KISS, Van Halen, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, new wave British heavy metal, Motörhead. We like the same stuff. We like the same guitar sounds.”

The guitarist also touched on their playing styles as follows:

“Basically, even though he grew up in Southern California and I come from Northern California, we’re very, very similar players. The only difference is I play more leads. That’s the only difference. His right hand is so precise. I got my precision in my left hand. His precision is in his right hand, and we learn so much from each other.”

Still, Hammett said it wasn’t easy to work with Hetfield:

“James… I love him. I love him as a musician. I love him as a brother, but it’s hard to be in a band with him. Because sometimes, he shows up, and he’ll play something like, ‘Where did that come from? I’ve never heard anyone play something like that.’ And it’s still coming.”

After giving an example by playing a piece on guitar, he added:

“He doesn’t really even have to work at it. He can fall out of bed, pick up a guitar, and, man, there’s like sixteen notes coming out effortlessly! I love that.”

But there were times the Metallica guitarist had doubts about the singer, especially after his return to rehab and the COVID-19 breakout. In an interview with So What! in May, he recalled those times and said it felt like the band was back to its ‘Some Kind of Monster’ days. Then, he explained:

“Because whenever someone experiences something that’s life-changing, life-moving, you have to just accept the fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen once the person returns. You don’t know how the process might change them. So, when James went off to rehab, and then COVID hit, I mean, that was a double whammy! And it looked like the future was very, very bleak.”

Now, Metallica is going on its world tour with a filled schedule until late 2024. The band will give out two-night, no-repeat shows in every city they visit in North America. After ending the 2023 shows in November, they’ll go back to Europe for a new set of dates in May 2024.