METALLICA's KIRK HAMMETT Is Almost Nine Years Sober

May 1, 2023

In a new interview with the METALLICA fan-club magazine So What!, guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke about his enduring passion for playing music and performing for the band's fans. He said: "I love what I do. I love what I fucking do, okay? There's been times when the negative aspects have totally taken over me, and I've spent a lot of time highlighting those negative aspects, but don't get me wrong. The positives still outweigh the negatives, and I love what I do. Basically, it's getting up there, playing guitar for people, and showing them a good time. Because when I'm up there, I'm having a really good time. And ever since I was a kid, I have thought, 'If I'm up there having a good time and people see me having a good time, they're going to pick up on that good time and have a good time too. I learned that when I was 17 years old and first started playing shows in EXODUS. I believed it then, and I believe it now, and yes, I'm having a great time up there because I'm playing guitar. I'm playing good songs that are fun to play. We write songs that are fun to play because that's what we want to do. We don't want to write songs that are a bummer to play. Fuck that! I'd get bored. I'd probably fall asleep or walk off stage or just start soloing in an inappropriate manner — and I'm good at that.

"But we have killer songs," he continued. "I'm playing with killer musicians. They're my bros. We have an amazing fan base who understands us and then some. I still love it. And I love the fact that we can get into a big room — 50,000 people — and everyone, everyone, when we play a song, is in the same focus and the same awareness and the same presence of mind on the same thing. And we feel connected. To feel connected, all of us — 50,000 people — in a song… That feeling of community? That's what you're really feeling when you go to a rock show. It's elation from celebrating the fact that we're all together, seeing something that we all love, and experiencing something that we all want to do together.

"Huge, huge, powerful stuff, man," Kirk added. "And to be in that situation — to be at the forefront of it, guiding it, supplying it, and steering it — is magic, man. It's pure love. L-O-V-E. People laugh, but I challenge anyone who might think that's corny: go to the core of it. Go to the core of what is really motivating you to be entertained."

Hammett also discussed his personal growth in recent years, saying: "I've gotten better in just expressing myself, talking about my feelings, not being shy about my feelings… My biggest thing is withdrawal. I will just withdraw from everyone and everything. I have the capacity to do that. And it's not disassociation. It's really just wanting to withdraw from people because it's too much. So, I've recognized that I have that, and I've also recognized that it's just better for me to express what I really, truly feel all the time.

"I'm going on nine years sober pretty soon. I [attribute] so much of my own personal growth to getting sober. And I wish I would've gotten sober a long time ago, but it just wasn't in the cards, you know? But since getting sober, everything is improved in my life, pretty much everything is improved. I have focus, and I put myself in situations now that I know are positive and win-win situations, where it contributes to everyone else's well-being. And the best thing that I can do nowadays is to find ways just to contribute to other people's well-being, whether it's through art, music, just hanging out with people, doing cool creative stuff, connecting with people, being positive, and just working toward the well-being of everyone. That's what I want to do these days.

"I'm not as chaotic as I used to be. And I know that I'm not as unpredictable as I used to be. When I was younger, I had this thing; I always had this feeling that I needed adventure. I was mischievous. So, I would get myself into trouble all the time, only because that was the energy that was in me. But I don't have that anymore. I feel like I'm very well grounded. I also feel that I am my own person, and I will always be my own person. And everything that has anything to do with me begins with me and ends with me. At the end of the day, it really doesn't have anything to do with anyone else. And having that realization? It's changed me. It's changed my approach to just about everything. It's given me an awareness so that I'm less reactive and more responsive to almost every situation. Whereas back in the day, I was a reactionary, emotional animal who would just lash out all the time without even thinking because I was conditioned. That was the situation around me as I was growing up. Those are my '72 seasons,' you know? Being in a totally reactive mode all the time because I had to be that way because that's what people need to be for survival. You know, during those 72 seasons, most of it was spent in survival mode for me. And you know, it gets tiring being in that mode. I've found a way to just write myself out of that narrative and be my own person. And I realize that's all I can do, so that's what I do now."

Hammett released his first solo EP, "Portals", in April 2022. The all-instrumental four-song effort was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris, and Oahu and was produced by Hammett, who drew inspiration for the songs from horror movies, classical music, and the work of Ennio Morricone, whose "The Ecstasy Of Gold" has been opening METALLICA live shows since 1983.

This past week, METALLICA kicked off its "M72" world tour 2023-2024 with two performances at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The career-spanning sets featured songs off the band's newest album "72 Seasons", and other classics. In total, METALLICA performed 32 different songs taken from its 11 studio albums.

METALLICA is visiting a total of 22 different cities around the world and playing two nights in each city.

METALLICA promises fans who purchase a two-day ticket that they won't see the same song twice for a total of over 30 songs spanning the band's 40-plus-year career.

"72 Seasons" sold 146,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the band's 12th Top 10-charting album, of which eight have reached the top two.

"72 Seasons" had the biggest week for any rock or hard rock album since TOOL's "Fear Inoculum" arrived in September 2019 with 270,000 equivalent album units.

"72 Seasons" was released on April 14 via METALLICA's own Blackened Recordings. Produced by Greg Fidelman with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, it is METALLICA's first full-length collection of new material since "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct".

Photo credit: Ross Halfin

Find more on Metallica
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).