Hammett: I felt like a monster
Metallica axeman on his love of the horror genre and how it helped him come out of his shell
Kirk Hammett has told how horror movies and comic books have played a big part in his life both in and away from music.
The Metallica guitarist says he identified with the horror genre as a young outcast growing up in San Francisco and that he saw parallels with his own life and that of the monsters in the books he read and films he obsessed over.
Hammett tells Collectors Weekly: “Believe it or not, I’m a totally introverted person. People see me onstage and see that I walk out in front 50,000 people not even batting an eyelash, but I’m just used to that.
"Because of my family history, I always felt like an outsider. I was super shy as a kid, very quiet and observant. I had trouble fitting into a lot of situations, and I felt like a monster myself. A lot of the stuff I saw the monsters experiencing on the screen, I had a version of that in my own life.”
Hammett's obsession led to his 2012 book Too Much Horror Business, which details his vast personal collection of memorabilia. And it seemed natural to him that his love of all things horror would influence his music.
He adds: “My whole perspective on life is coloured by horror films. I’m so enmeshed in that sensibility that it just naturally flows through me and out of me into my music. I listen to a lot of dark stuff all the time.
"I’m not the type to sit down and play happy songs, even when I’m by myself or with my kids. I’m saying, ‘Hey, kids, check out this cool Black Sabbath riff that you’ve never heard before,’ or ‘Hey, doesn’t sound this like a haunted house?’ or ‘Hey, this sounds like Godzilla walking through Tokyo.’ Just naturally, I live in a minor key. And horror movies are in a minor key.”
Metallica are working on their 10th album, but no recording timeline or release date has yet been revealed.