METALLICA's KIRK HAMMETT Says His Solos On 'Hardwired' Were Completely Improvised

December 8, 2016

Sirius XM Canada conducted an interview with METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett at the end of last month in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can now watch the chat below.

Asked if he prepared his solos for METALLICA's "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" prior to recording them for the album, Kirk said: "That's what I used to do — I used to go into a lot of preparation and just do a lot of homework and just get up a bunch of ideas. But this time around, I just made sure that my playing abilities were at [their] best, and the idea was for me to capture a moment, be totally spontaneous, be completely improvisational and see what comes out. And it was a beautiful experience, because I had no idea how the solos were gonna turn out at the end. I had no idea what they were gonna be like. So I went into the studio and just did it. And looking back at all the lead-guitar playing on this album, I'm really just kind of blown away by it, because I know it's me but it doesn't sound like me, to me, because it's all stream of consciousness. And there's still at least seven or eight guitar solos I have to go back and sit down and re-learn because it just all flowed out from my mind, from my heart, from my gut. I was kind of surprised at how easy it was; it almost felt like, you know… it was too easy. I'm used to really torturing myself and working hard, pushing myself and bringing myself to the point of anxiety, and if I don't feel like I'm doing that, for some reason or another, I don't feel like I deserve anything that comes in the wake of that."

"Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" went to No. 1 in 57 countries around the world after it was released on November 18. It is the band's first album not to feature Hammett's name in the co-writing credits — a consequence of him misplacing his cell phone while in Denmark in 2015.

"I had about 500 pieces of music on an iPhone and that iPhone I lost in Europe," Hammett told Australia's Herald Sun. "It's one of the most regretful things that has happened to me in the past five years or so."

He added that he has been writing furiously since. "But the songs on this album were already written so I've put them in the deep freeze and hopefully we'll break 'em out when it gets time to get songs together for the next album," Kirk said.

Hammett said the experience has made him question the whole notion of recording random riffs as part of the songwriting process.

"If I have a tendency to forget the riff or the feel then it couldn’t have been that great in to begin with," he said, adding bands of the '60s and '70s had to remember their ideas.

"When it became possible for people to record every single little bit of music, it kind of affected the quality of the music. It made it not so memorable as it used to be."

METALLICA plans to tour extensively behind the new disc starting in early 2017.

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