When Dave Mustaine Got Revenge From Kirk Hammett

When Metallica fired Dave Mustaine because of his drug/alcohol abuse and violent behavior before the recording sessions of ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ they hired Kirk Hammett to be their new guitarist. This change sparked a long-standing dispute between the two guitarists, as Mustaine felt that Hammett gained fame using the music he had originally written.

Over the years, the Megadeth vocalist openly expressed his dislike for Hammett, accusing the Metallica guitarist of stealing his job and guitar leads. In an interview on Dave Navarro’s Spread TV, he also spoke of getting back at his successor for these reasons:

“James and I had planned on firing Lars so many times. I like James more than Lars. I think everybody does, and I have no problems with James. I don’t really like Kirk ’cause he got my job, but you know, I nailed his girlfriend before I left.”

The Two’s Relationship Got Better

Still, the dynamic between Hammett and Mustaine gradually changed, especially after their bands performed together at the ‘Big Four’ shows in 2010. The following year, Mustaine revealed that Hammett invited him to play guitar solos on stage while performing Diamond Head’s ‘Helpless’ one night.

Talking to Artisan News, he recalled:

“He said, ‘Do you wanna take the solo?” and I said, ‘Yeah.’ [Laughs] But we forgot to tell anybody on the stage or [running] the sound out front that I was gonna do the solo, so The song’s playing along, and Kirk’s playing rhythm full blast, and I’m sitting there going you can’t hear what I’m doing.

Commenting on the gesture, the singer added:

“At least we knew what had happened. It was kind of a symbolic passing of the torch back to me, and it was a nice gesture. I think that that helped Kirk and my relationship improve a bit.”

Mustaine Admitted To Being Unfair To Hammett

In 2011, Mustaine joined Metallica onstage again for their 30th-anniversary shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco, playing songs from the ‘Kill ‘Em All’ album. Hammett later described this performance as a healing experience for the Megadeth frontman.

While he agreed with the guitarist on X, Mustaine admitted to being too harsh on Hammett in the past. In a 2023 interview with Guitar Player, the singer said:

“I’ve always kind of poked fun at Kirk. And unfairly so, as he never did anything to me. Whenever I felt singled out, picked on, or antagonized by James [Hetfield] or Lars [Ulrich], it was really easy to pick on Kirk. But the truth is Kirk did me an honor by trying to play my solos on those early songs the way he did.”

Both Bands Continue To Make Music

Earlier this year, Metallica released their eleventh studio album, ’72 Seasons,’ and embarked on a world tour to support it. Meanwhile, Mustaine started to get ready for a new trek with Megadeth, whose upcoming shows will kick off in April 2024 in Peru.