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Metallica’s Kirk Hammett opens up on being bullied at school

Kirk Hammett recalls high school bullying experience - and how music saved him from “pretty bad path” in life

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has discussed his memories of being bullied at school, and of how discovering music saved him from following a “pretty bad path” in life.

He grew up in El Sobrante, California, and attended De Anza High School in Richmond, and after years of being interested in horror movies, he started playing guitar seriously at the age of 15.

Hammett tells 107.7 The Bone (via Blabbermouth) that he and his friends were troubled by “neighbourhood hoodlums,” adding: “They picked anyone who was an easy target who looked different from them.

“They were people with very low IQs that had nothing better to do with their time, except picking and bullying on other people.

“They used to terrify us all the time. Then we go to the other side of town, and there were the Mexican gangs we had to constantly worry about as well. We’d just try and not go anywhere near those guys.”

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The events took place around the time he began playing guitar. “It was one of the only things I found that could calm me down when I was a kid,” he says.

“I was able to use it to ground myself and more in the moment. If I didn’t have music… who knows? I was on a pretty bad path when I discovered music. Music kept be from going further down that path.”

Last year Hammett explained how his interest in music had helped him through his teenage years, adding: "Heavy metal solved a lot of my problems when I couldn't express myself and I was just frustrated. I would go to my room and put on a metal album and feel instant relief. When someone tries to take that away from you, you're like, 'No, I need that for my own survival.'"

Metallica recently completed their first large-scale US tour in eight years. They return to Europe next month, with UK dates to follow in October. Full dates below.

From the archive

Metallica 2017/2018 WorldWired tour dates

2017

Sep 02: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Sep 04: Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, Netherlands
Sep 06: Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, Netherlands
Sep 08: Paris AccorHotels Arena, France
Sep 10: Paris AccorHotels Arena, France
Sep 12: Lyon Halle Tony Garnier, France
Sep 14: Cologne Lanxess Arena, Germany
Sep 16: Cologne Lanxess Arena, Germany
Oct 22: London O2 Arena, UK
Oct 24: London O2 Arena, UK
Oct 26: Glasgow SSE Hydro, UK
Oct 28: Manchester Arena, UK
Oct 30: Birmingham Genting Arena, UK
Nov 01: Antwerp Sportpaleism Belgium
Nov 03: Antwerp Sportpaleism Belgium

2018

Feb 01: Lisbon MEO Arena, Portugal
Feb 03: Madrid Wizink Center, Spain
Feb 05: Madrid Wizink Center, Spain
Feb 07: Barcelona Palau Sant Jordi, Spain
Feb 10: Turin Pala Alpitour, Italy
Feb 12: Bologna Unipol Arena, Italy
Feb 14: Bologna Unipol Arena, Italy
Feb 16: Mannheim SAP Arena, Germany
Mar 27: Herning Jyske Bank Boxen, Denmark
Mar 29: Hamburg Barclaycard Arena, Germany
Mar 31: Vienna Wiener Stadthalle, Austria
Apr 02: Prague O2 Arena, Czech Republic
Apr 05: Budapest Sports Arena, Hungary
Apr 07: Stuttgart Schleyerhalle, Germany
Apr 09: Stuttgart Schleyerhalle, Germany
Apr 11: Geneva Palexpo, Switzerland
Apr 26: Munich Olympiahalle, Germany
Apr 28: Krakow Tauron Arena, Poland
Apr 30: Leipzig Arena, Germany
May 02: Oslo Telenor Arena, Norway
May 05: Stockholm Ericsson Globe, Sweden
May 07: Stockholm Ericsson Globe, Sweden
May 09: Helsinki Hartwall Arena, Finland
May 11: Helsinki Hartwall Arena, Finland

From the archive

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