METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER
KIRK HAMMETT (Guitar, Writer, Executive Producer) has been a member of Metallica since 1983. In addition to being considered one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock, he is known as a man never without a grin or a curious thought. Hammett continues to bring a dazzling array of lead guitar parts to Metallica's music.
Born in San Francisco and raised in the East Bay town of El Sobrante, Hammett gained an interest in music from his brother Rick's Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and UFO record collection. When he was 15 he obtained his first guitar, a wholly unglamorous Montgomery Ward catalog special with a four-inch speaker for an amp.
After picking up a 1978 Fender Stratocaster, Hammett experimented by mixing and matching guitar parts to find his perfect sound. In the end he fell hard for the 1974 Gibson Flying V. In a determined effort to upgrade his equipment, Hammett took a shift at Burger King to buy his first Marshall amp. Around that time, he co-founded the influential metal band Exodus, with Paul Baloff. On two occasions in 1982 and '83 the East Bay thrashers were a support act performing with Metallica.
In April 1983 Hammett received a phone call from Metallica. They were in the process of parting ways with guitarist Dave Mustaine and wanted Hammett to fly out to New York and audition. While he was never formally invited to join the band, after jamming together Hammett and the guys instantly knew the fit was right.
To this day a keen student of his musical craft, Hammett followed his first tour ("Kill 'Em All") by taking lessons from guitar legend Joe Satriani. He embarked upon a journey of self-education that has encompassed jazz, blues and classical styles.
Expanding his skills has always been Hammett's defense against potential burnout. After the band's marathon "Black" album tour ended in 1993, he immediately went to the City College of San Francisco and took classes. He credits this experience for his reinvention as a guitarist on the "Load" and "Reload" albums.
Hammett, his wife Lani and their two sons live in San Francisco along with a large collection of Hollywood movie memorabilia and several dogs and cats. In 2012 he published his first book Too Much Horror Business -- a 9" x 12" art and photo book, which chronicles his extensive collection of horror memorabilia. He plays his guitar at least 361 days a year and tries to surf nearly as often.
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