METALLICA’s KIRK HAMMETT Says He Has 400 Riffs To Choose From For Next Studio Album

Earlier this week, Josh Hart of conducted an interview with METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. You’ve been playing “the black album” all summer on tour in Europe, and you’ll be playing it the second night of [Orion Music + More]. The first night is “Ride the Lightning”. You already play a lot of those songs live, but were there any cuts you had to brush up on?

Kirk: As you said, a lot of the songs in our set are on “Ride The Lightning” to begin with, so when it came time to actually think about doing “Ride The Lightning”, the only songs we needed to rehearse were “Escape” and “The Call Of Ktulu”. Everything else is something that we play in pretty regular rotation — “Fade To Black”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Fight Fire With Fire”. The only one we really felt the need to rehearse was “Escape”, which we’ve never played live before, and “The Call Of Kutlu”, which we have played live a lot, but not since December, I think. The most striking thing about the [Orion Music + More] festival is the incredibly diverse lineup. How did that come together? Did you all come to the table with a list of bands you wanted to see on the bill?

Kirk: What happened was we got a long list of bands who were available, and we just kind of picked and chose. And made sure that whoever we picked was someone we actually like. [laughs] I’m really looking forward to it. And we also have these lifestyle tents that are kind of based on our own individual interests. James [Hetifield] is having a car show, Lars [Ulrich] is having a movie festival type thing, Rob [Trujillo] is having a skate-and-surf thing and I have Kirk’s Crypt, which is kind of like a haunted-house type thing. Those are the things that we’re kind of going above and beyond to make sure our own lifestyles and personalities come across. That’s kind of a new thing for us. Usually when we get to the show, we just play the show and leave. But this time it’s our show, and it’s more of an event than anything else. That’s where all the other types of bands and the lifestyle tents come in. In your recent interview with Rolling Stone, James said he had more than 800 riffs laying around, and Rob hinted that you had more than 300. Is that pretty accurate?

Kirk: I’m probably closer to 400 now. [laughs] But you know, out of those 400 there might only be 20 great riffs. It’d be something if all 400 were triple-A, diamond-rated ideas, but that’s just not the case. Never was and never will be. James might have 800 riffs, but there’s maybe 12 songs in there. Who knows? It all depends on what we do with it. In the fall, we plan on concentrating a little more on writing songs and doing nothing else but just thinking about the new album. That should be interesting. Is there a time frame fro hitting the studio yet, or is it too soon to tell?

Kirk: No, it’s just whenever. Whenever it happens, it happens, really.

Read the entire interview from