Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett opened up about the first time he auditioned for Metallica during a recent interview with Gibson Icons and unveiled that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich never officially told him that he is a member of the band.
As you may know, Kirk Hammett joined the band back in 1983, replacing Dave Mustaine who was fired from the band due to his substance abuse. Hammett has performed on each of Metallica’s 10 full-length studio albums so far including his first one, ‘Kill ‘Em All.’
During a recent interview, Kirk Hammett revealed the whole story behind his journey with Metallica and how it all started. Apparently, after parting ways with their guitarist, Metallica members were impressed with Hammett’s Exodus demo, which was his previous band. Since Metallica wanted him to work with them on April 1st, Hammett thought it was a joke in the beginning.
Here is what Hammett said about the time he was asked to audition for Metallica:
“It was April 1st so I thought it was an April Fool’s joke – and I had to say to the person on the other end, ‘Is this an April Fool’s joke?’ And he said, ‘Nope. They heard the Exodus demo and they’re very interested in you flying out and trying out for the band.’
I had a week to learn all the songs; and back then, learning eight or 10 songs in a week would have been pretty difficult. I could probably learn eight or 10 songs in like four days now because I’m just better at it, but back then it was a lot. And I remember sitting down with that Metallica demo tape and just learning as much as I could, and then flying out.
And it was like 20 degrees outside, and it was snowing, and that was a bit of a shock for me because I’d never left California at that point. I remember getting there, and it was like early evening, and those guys were just getting up. And I thought, ‘Who the gets up at six or seven o’clock at night?!'”
Kirk Hammett also revealed that the first song he ever played to Metallica was ‘Seek and Destroy‘ which was the easiest according to him. Due to the happiness of having Hammett playing with them, drummer Lars Ulrich and frontman James Hetfield were smiling the whole time.
Here’s what Hammett stated about Hetfield and Ulrich’s reaction:
“And I remember saying hello to them and then 15 minutes later, they’re saying to me, ‘Come on, let’s just play some tunes! Well, what do you want to play?’ And I instantly went for the easiest song to play, which is ‘Seek and Destroy.’ And I remember playing ‘Seek and Destroy’ with them, and I couldn’t understand why Lars and James kept on looking at each other and smiling.
And I thought, ‘Wow, they must really enjoy this song… Or maybe there’s something else going on that I don’t know about.’ I later found out that it was because they were just so happy that it sounded so good right from the start.”
Hammett, later on, shared another surprising fact and stated that right after the audition, he started working with Metallica to record their iconic album ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ However, he had to assume that he’s a member of the band out of their actions since nobody from the band officially told him that he’s in Metallica.
Here is what Hammett said about being accepted to Metallica:
“And I just started playing shows with them. And then the next thing, I’m in the studio with them and recording ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ And so I thought, ‘Well, I must be in the band if I’m recording an album with it now.’ Because they never sat me down and said, ‘You’re officially in the band’ – they never did that!“
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