Kirk Hammett “Shocked” That Metallica Bandmates Gave Their Blessing For His Solo Material

I, Flowkey, CC BY-SA 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Back in February, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett announced that he would be releasing his first ever solo EP.

Hammett’s solo EP, titled Portals, is four tracks in length – and while it does feature the use of guitar – it also displays a whole other creative side to that of the Metallica guitarist. Offering nothing but instrumentals, Portals pays homage to Hammett’s love of cinema, specifically horror movies and horror movie soundtracks. The music video for the EP’s first single, “High Plains Drifter,” came out as of today; you can check out the music video for “High Plains Drifter” below:

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Kirk Hammett was asked about the creative process in creating this solo EP. At one point, Hammett brings up that he was “shocked” that his Metallica bandmates gave their blessing for his solo material to be released.

In the interview, he shares how he played the music for his Metallica bandmates and that of band management, expecting they would say to release it after the next Metallica album. To his surprise, he was told that the material should be released as of now.

“I was also pretty shocked that I got the complete band’s blessings on it,” he says. “It was amazing because our band has not had a lot of great progress with band members going solo, as everyone knows. But all that went down almost 20 years ago, and we’re such different people now. We’re all just older, wiser, and more mature.”

Briefly after this statement, the Rolling Stone interview goes right into Hammett’s surprise with his Metallica bandmates and their management:

[Rolling Stone] “You were surprised your Metallica bandmates gave Portals their blessing. In 2001, the band did an interview with Playboy where James Hetfield said, ‘When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of Metallica.’ What’s changed?”

[Kirk Hammett]: “Well, we kind of see it like this: We’re not musicians, we’re artists. Ethically, morally, and creatively, it’s wrong to deny someone the opportunities to express themselves and create. And I think that’s kind of where everyone is sitting right now. Also, now we’re so much more accepting of what happens in our lives because so much stuff has happened to us in the last 20 years — so much stuff has happened in the last five years.

“I think we’re a little bit more aware of our own mortality and how much more time we have as functioning artists, musicians, and band members. So there are other things that are more important to consider, like the longevity of the group, the mental health of the group, the creative energy of the group.

“And those guys know I ain’t fucking going anywhere. Metallica is my fucking bed. Metallica is my home, and it would be fruitless to leave the band because, if I did, people would be reminding me every single day of how I was the Metallica guitar player. I don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to resist that. I want to always fucking be seen as just another guy in Metallica trying to make the best music along with these other three guys because that’s basically what we do. That’s our calling. It’s what the freaking universe wants us to do. I think along those lines.”

What are your thoughts on Hammett releasing solo material, as well as his surprise that his fellow bandmates gave their blessing for such material to be released?

Kirk Hammett’s Portals will be released tomorrow (April. 23rd) as part of Record Store Day.


Words by: Michael Pementel