Metallica's Kirk Hammett contemplates possible solo effort: "It would not look like a metal album at all”
“It’ll be something so weird and far-ranging in styles, but cohesive at the same time," the guitar legend says of what fans can expect from his possible solo album.
Unlike many artists from the rock and metal scene, the members of Metallica rarely if ever embark on solo projects. Fans will remember the awkward phase when bassist Jason Newstead was around, whose desire to focus on his other project Echobrain ultimately played a major role in his departure from the legendary thrash metal outfit.
However, the band's longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett says he has a massive collection of solo material that he’d very much like to release some day.
“I have so much material sitting around that’s obviously not Metallica stuff, and that pile gets bigger and bigger,” the 55-year-old ax man said in a recent interview with Metal Hammer.
But Hammett is very clear about the fact that the day is quite far away as he's far from done with focusing on Metallica. “One of these days when it feels right… I still feel I have so much to give Metallica. When that feels more complete, maybe I’ll think about doing that other stuff,” he said.
Talking about what the solo material might sound like if it ever sees the light of day, Hammett says the hypothetical solo album might surprise Metallica fans.
“It would not look like a metal album at all,” Kirk Hammett confirmed. “It’ll be something so weird and far-ranging in styles, but cohesive at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of us did some solo, independent, autonomous sort of thing. I think it’s healthy, and if anything, when you come back to the band you’d come back with more enthusiasm. It’d feel like going on a little camping trip, and it’s always good to come back home to a nice warm bed!”
Elsewhere in the interview, he spoke about his undying love for playing the guitar and what the instrument means to him. “I live for playing guitar, loud and aggressive,” Hammett said. “There’s such a therapeutic effect that happens to me, and it fills a huge gaping hole in my soul. It’s been the case since day one, and it’s still improving. I still don’t feel I’ve hit the summit; I have a long musical road to discover and experience.”
He also provided some insight into his love for the wah-wah pedal, the accessory that has over the years become a big part of Hammett's signature neo-classical/speed metal crossover style. Although Hammett's use of the wah-pedal hadn't been featured in recent Metallica solos, a resurgence of the sound is noticeable, especially after 2008's album 'Death Magnetic', in songs like 'The Unforgiven III.'
“To me, the wah-wah is a lot like the human voice,” Kirk said in the interview. “It isn’t so much about the ‘wah-wah sound’, it’s being able to manipulate the tone however I feel it in that moment. It actually creates a better connection to the deeper part of me. And Hendrix wasn’t actually the first person I heard use a wah-wah pedal – that was Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy! The first time I became aware of it was the song Warriors on Jailbreak. He comes in with this totally wah-ed out two-three notes, and I said to my friend, ‘What is that?!’ He said, ‘That’s a wah-wah pedal.’ ‘Wow, fantastic!’ I made a mental note of that…”