METALLICA lead guitarist Kirk Hammett recently spoke with ARTISTdirect.com about his upcoming book, “Too Much Horror Business – The Kirk Hammett Collection”, which is due out in October. The oversized 228-page hardback book documents Hammett’s love of all things related to the horror genre and features more than 300 photos of items from the collection of horror memorabilia he has accumulated over the years. The book also includes three lengthy interviews with Hammett, who also wrote the captions for many of the photos.
Hammett told ARTISTdirect.com, “I’ve been into the horror genre ever since I was five years old. You can say I actually started collecting at six years old. That’s when I bought my first monster magazine and started buying monster toys in the late ’60s, early ’70s. I got a lot of comic books and magazines. That was a constant throughout my childhood. Then, when I was about 13 years old, I got into rock ‘n’ roll, particularly hard rock. That led me away from horror. Once I started listening to the music, buying albums, and going to record stores by myself, I turned a corner, and I was doing things that were a bit more ‘grownup.’
“For a brief while, I thought all of my comic books and horror books were kids’ stuff. I got engulfed in music, bought a guitar, and started playing obsessively. I made a conscious pact to become a musician. That dominated my focus for the next eight or nine years. Once I started making a little bit of money with METALLICA, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m still really into horror movies.’ Throughout that time, I was watching a lot of horror films. I just wasn’t buying comic books, magazines, or toys. I was remotely connected to the genre though. When I started getting a little bit of money, I began buying comic books, horror magazines, and a lot of horror toys from the ’60s. I wasn’t able to get them before. I was really into the toys from the early part of that decade when I was still an infant. In my early twenties, I realized there was this network of people that was way into this stuff. I fell into this network, and it spanned across the country. One thing led to another and I was collecting everything again. I found myself going full bore once more. I started at six. There was a time rock ‘n’ roll drew me away from being a monster kid, but I was able to get back into it. I totally delved into it and never stopped.”
Asked what the rarest horror artifact he has is, Hammett said, “I have this outfit Boris Karloff wore in this 1934 movie called ‘The Black Cat’. It’s one of my favorite all-time movies. It’s in my top three. About four years ago, I was thumbing through an auction catalog. In the small corner of the page, there was this little blurb that said, ‘‘The Black Cat’ outfit Boris Karloff wore in 1934.’ I was totally blown away. I was speechless. I thought, ‘How could this outfit have survived all this time?’ That’s seventy-seven years. I had to get it. I bid on it, and I can’t believe I have it. The first thing I did was try the outfit on. I had to. [laughs] Now, it’s in my collection and figures prominently in my book. The great thing about this book is it enables me to create a side venture called Kirk Von Hammett Toys. We’re creating a line of toys. One of the first figures that’s going to be available is Boris Karloff as that character in ‘The Black Cat’. I’m really very excited about that.”