Happy 60th Birthday to Kirk Hammett! He was born on November 18th, 1962, in San Francisco, California. Best known as the lead guitarist from Metallica since 1983 after Dave Mustaine was dismissed from the band. Prior to Metallica, Hammett formed the band Exodus in 1979 at the age of 16. He decided on the name after reading the Leon Uris novel of the same name. Exodus was a significant factor in the Bay Area thrash movement of the early 80’s.
Hammett, a well know horror movie fanatic, spent his milk money on horror magazines for the better part of a decade. He began showing interest in music after listening to his brother Rick’s extensive record collection – the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others. Kirk then began selling his horror magazines to buy records, which eventually led to him picking up the guitar at the age of fifteen.
In 1983, Metallica was on the Kill ‘Em All tour when things really began to unravel with Mustaine. He was fired from Metallica on April 11th of that year… the same day Hammett flew to New York to audition as his replacement. The very first song they played together was Seek & Destroy, and after Kirk pulled off the solo in the song, he was instantly asked to join the band where he has remained for the past 40 years!
I had a couple of opportunities to meet Kirk – first time was at Metallica’s Orion Music & More Festival in Atlantic City back in 2012. I had a chance to interview him backstage at the epic 2-day event. He couldn’t have been cooler, a very laid-back, Cali surfer vibe. Hammett has been an avid surfer for most of his life. He loves to shred the gnar as much as he loves to shred the guitar!
The second time I had the opportunity to meet Kirk was at WMMR’s 50th Birthday celebration at the Big Joint (Wells Fargo Center) back in October of 2018. Again, couldn’t have been nicer. And look at that scarf!
Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time and 15th on Joel McIver’s list of the 100 greatest metal guitarists. Joel has a great book out on Metallica titled ‘Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica’ – a must read for any Metallica fan.
Hammett just released his first batch of solo, instrumental works with his 2022 EP ‘Portals’ which is really good!
Looking forward to the follow-up to Metallica’s blistering 10th studio album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct – which, hopefully, they are working on as we speak! Fingers crossed!
Happy 60th Birthday to Kirk Von Hammett from all of us at WMMR! -bp