Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett tells the unheard story of how he joined Metallica. Speaking in an interview by Matt Pinfield, Kirk explained that his unheard story of joining to Metallica. He said:

“When it came time for Metallica to leave California and go to New Jersey to make an album, everyone in the scene knew – they were gonna be the very first band [from the scene] to actually go in a studio and make a record. Everyone bid them farewell, there was a huge party for them, and that was it, they left.

Literally four or five days later, I got a phone call from Metallica’s sound person, who also happened to be Exodus’ manager at the time Mark Whitaker.

And he says, ‘Hey Kirk, these guys are not having a good time with Dave [Mustaine], there are some problems with him personally. They wanna start looking for other guitar players, I played them the Exodus demo and they liked what they heard. So they’re interested in trying you out, I’m gonna send you the ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ demo.’

I said, ‘I already have it.’ ‘Learn the songs.’ ‘I already know a few of the songs.’ ‘Great, learn the rest of ’em.’ [Laughs]

Five days later, I was on a plane from San Francisco to New York and check this out – back then, you were able to check in a Marshal cabinet and a Marshal head into luggage. [Chuckles] Different times…


I’ll never forget it – Mark Whitaker and Cliff Burton came to pick me up at the airport. It was them because James and Lars were too busy sleeping.

I see Mark, he’s like, ‘Where are your bags?’ And I point, and there’s the Marshal cabinet having trouble getting through the little opening on the conveyor belt. So Mark jumps on the conveyor belt, tilts it back on right side up, it goes through the opening and we grab it!

Into the van and off I go to meet the guys at the music building in Jamaica, Queens.

He continued:

“By the time I got there, it was past 6:30 in the evening, and those guys were just waking up. I thought to myself, ‘Well, these guys are already on a rock ‘n’ roll schedule…’

I set up my amp and they were shaking the sleep out of their eyes going, ‘What songs do you know.’ I said, ‘I think I know all of them.’

The first song we played was ‘Seek and Destroy.’ We started playing it and it was really confusing for me ’cause James and Lars kept looking at each other and laughing – I couldn’t figure out why they were laughing! Am I playing the song wrong or something?!

After the song, they’re looking at me like, ‘OK, what other stuff do you know?’ We eventually cycled through all the songs and they went, ‘Great, we’re gonna rehearse a few more times, we have a show on Friday – do you think you can do it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think I can do it.’ And that was that…”

Click here to listen entire interview.