The Real Story Of How Kirk Hammett Lost 300+ Metallica Riffs, And What James Hetfield Said About It

There’s no doubt that Metallica is one of the most beloved metal bands in music history, therefore, the band manages to be followed by every Metallica fan, as well as every metal fan, with every album they released to this date. In addition to this, Metallica successes to make the headlines from time to time with their interesting and sensational incidents. One of the most peculiar incidents in Metallica history occurred thanks to lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and it’s still remembered by every fan of the band.

As some of you might remember, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett experienced an unfortunate incident back in 2015 when he lost nearly 300 guitar riffs along with his phone while working on the 2016 album, ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct,’ and lead vocalist James Hetfield was completely surprised by the incident.

The Reason Kirk Hammett Lost 300 Metallica Riffs

The poor incident took place when Kirk Hammett left his phone in a cab while in Denmark, the device was filled with an estimated 300 guitar riffs none of which was backed up. During an interview with Jasta Show Podcast back in 2015, Hammett opened up about losing the guitar riffs and stated that he still hoped the phone may have turned up after feeling upset for days, urging other musicians to make sure they back up their recordings.

Here is what Hammett said:

I lost my iPhone with 250 musical ideas. I was crushed. It didn’t get backed up. When it happened, I was bummed out for about two or three days… I’m still looking for it to this day… It still might turn up, I’m hoping that it will. All you musicians out there who use your phone, make sure it’s backed up, right?”

What Kirk Hammett Said About The Quality Of The Riffs That He Lost

A few years after losing his phone, Metallica guitarist once again opened up about the incident during an interview with Mike on Much, however, stated that they weren’t probably that good if he can’t actually remember them just by picking up his guitar, according to Hammett which proved his regret about losing the riffs is long gone after thinking how music used to be remembered.

Here is what Hammett said:

“I’m saying this after a lot of thought about how music used to be composed before we had things like tape recorders, you know, digital recorders, whatever. It was all written and remembered. And they could only remember the best stuff. When they sat down back in the Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties, up until the Seventies, they had to remember whatever they played. They couldn’t just turn on a recorder.

And so I’ve kind of adopted that sort of attitude. If I can’t remember it at any point, then maybe it just wasn’t good enough. And so that’s kind of the approach I’ve taken now, which is a healthier approach because I’m not so dependent on recording the stuff. And it also tells me that the stuff I’m writing that I can remember is of a higher quality because it’s instantly accessible and I can remember it easily.”

Now that the band’s tenth studio album, ‘Hardwired…to Self-Destruct is out and received an incredible amount of success, the lost riffs are the least concern of the band who’s even working on another album nowadays. Still, the lost riffs were supposed to take place in the follow-up album to the band’s 2008 album, ‘Death Magnetic,’ therefore, Metallica’s lead vocalist had something to say when his bandmate’s action cost them a delay.

How James Hetfield Reacted To Kirk Hammett

During an interview with WRIF four years ago, James Hetfield revealed his opinions about the incident and started off skeptical if Kirk Hammet actually lost his phone, however, after revealing that his suspicion was only a joke, Hetfield stressed how surprised he was about the mistake Hammett made by not backing up all of those riffs to a computer as well.

Here is what Hetfield said:

That’s what he claims. I’m sure he did, but it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t have them on his computer, either. But, whatever, yeah, Kirk had some riffs that he… I guess submitted — it’s not a very nice word to be used if you’re in a band. But you know, we all submit our tapes and we sit there and we listen to them and we pick the best stuff. There was not much stuff from Kirk. Whether his phone was lost, or whatever.”

You can click to see the source for the first, second, and third interviews.