Why Kirk Hammett Won’t Force His Kids To Pursue Music

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kallerna, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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In a recent interview with Metallica‘s So What! online magazine, Kirk Hammett discussed why he won’t push his children to have a career in music. While the guitarist isn’t against the idea of other musicians’ children entering the music industry, he has reasons for why it’s not an ideal fit for his own kids.

Reflecting on his own childhood, Hammett believes that he was perpetually in survival mode. He’s learned a lot about himself through constant trials over the years, including lessons about the music industry, which he uses to illustrate why he won’t encourage his two sons to follow the same path.

“I recognize that whatever happens in my life, I will always be playing guitar,” said Hammett. “I will always be making music because that’s my calling. I recognize that this is my universal calling: to play music, with or without anyone. This is what I do. And to me, the realization – I realized maybe 10-15 years ago that this really was the only option I have in my life – was great! There’s no questions about why I’m doing this.”

The guitarist noted the level of commitment and personal sacrifice that the music industry demands of musicians.

“There’s no guarantee of success,” Hammett explained, “and you might get killed in the process. That’s what being in this business is like, and I can only say that now looking back.”

Hammett recalled that the members of Metallica lived in tough conditions throughout the  early days and that they started off “on the same page.”

“But because of the industry, because of the music, because of popularity, status, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, not all of us made it to this point,” Hammett reflected on the metal scene and the music business in general. “Some people got fucking devoured and spat out. Some people just got devoured and never came back. I got extremely affected by it. Other people in the band got extremely affected by it. I feel like I’m a fucking survivor, and I think that every one of us in this band is a survivor because, man, it’s a screwed-up industry.” 

Kirk’s band are the glaring exception when it comes to success in music. Aware of this fact, he explained that not everyone is cut out to deal with the demands of the industry, including his children.

“My kids are really sensitive and shy, like me. I wouldn’t push them into this. I don’t push my kids into music or going into this career,” he notes.

“Yes, it’s been amazing,” the guitarist continued, “This side [of success] is amazing. Everyone always sees this side, but you have got to frigging be aware of “this” [other] side too… and “this” side almost frigging killed me.”

Regarding his kids, Hammett surmises, “If I push my kids into this, there’s no guarantee they’re going to have the same success. So, I don’t want my kids to be subject to that.”

Although the other members of Metallica have children who are pursuing careers in music, Hammett reasons that his sons are on a different path.

“The other guys’ kids are different from my kids. Rob [Trujillo’s] kids, and Tye in general, he’s a perfect example of a kid who’s grown up in this business and already knows what he wants,” he notes. “And he has the full support of his family, and that’s great. When I started off [as a child], I didn’t have the full support of my family, and I doubt if any of the rest of us did. In fact, my mom hated it when she found out I was thinking of becoming a musician. Literally, she yelled at me for two or three hours, saying, “What are you doing? Are you nuts?'”