In the world of hard rock, Metallica and Nirvana belong in two separate categories.
While thrash might not have competed with grunge, Kirk Hammett mentioned Kurt Cobain being a huge Metallica fan.
On their first tours for The Black Album, Hammett talked about hearing Nirvana’s debut album Bleach for the first time saying,
“I became friends with him right when the first Nirvana album came out before people were even calling it grunge.”
When it was time to choose an opening band, Hammett remembered that Cobain turned down opening for them saying,
“He just went on and on about how he just didn’t like what Guns N’ Roses stood for and I said to him: ‘Just go out there and represent Nirvana – just play the show and then that’s it’. I pleaded with him, but he just wasn’t having it.”
Cobain did appreciate Metallica from a distance, as Hammett remembers,
“He said that one of his favorite albums was Ride the Lightning and that his favorite Metallica song was ‘Whiplash.’ And right after we put out The Black Album, Nevermind came out and all of a sudden grunge was everywhere.”
Despite his decision to opt, Hammett remembered Cobain showing up at one of the Black Album tour dates saying,
“When we played in Seattle in 1992, Kurt came to the show. He was in the snakepit with a bunch of diehard fans. I remember the entire time Kurt would be waving his arms at me trying to get my attention. When I went over to see what he had to say, all he said was ‘Are you guys going to play ‘Whiplash’ tonight?.’ And we played the song and he was just loving it.”
While Cobain may have shrugged off a lot of his metal side, the thrash metal fire never leaves you.