top of page

Kirk Hammett

Guitarist Kirk Hammett is celebrating his birthday today. So let's tell you a little bit about him:

(Photo: Gina Wetzler)

1. He was born in San Francisco to a mother of Filipino descent and a father of Anglo-Scottish-Irish-German descent.

2. In high school he studied with Les Claypool from "Primus" and since then they have remained friends.

3. He started playing guitar relatively late, only at the age of 15.

4. His first guitar was the "Montgomery Ward catalog special". He connected it to a small speaker he had assembled inside a shoebox to create a resonance.

5. He worked at "Burger King" to save money so he can buy himself a Marshall guitar amp.

6. His favorite band is "UFO". When he first heard Michael Schenker play there he was immediately addicted.

7. Before joining "Metallica", he formed, in 1979, the thrash metal band "Exodus". That was when he was only 16 years old.

8. The first time Kirk left California was when he flew to New York to audition for "Metallica", which recorded its first demo there. The phone call inviting him to the Audition was received while sitting on the toilet.

9. The first song he played along with "Metallica" in the audition was "Seek and Destroy". His solo there was enough for guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich and they immediately accept him into the band.

10. Kirk was the last student of virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani. He took guitar lessons from him after recording his first album with "Metallica".

11. The passage section in the song "Creeping Death" is a riff that Kirk "imported" from his time in "Exodus". He claims he wrote the riff when he was only 16 years old.

12. During the tour of "Master Of Puppets" in Europe, Hammett got into an argument with bassist Cliff Burton about the beds on the band's bus. They decided to settle the dispute using a deck of cards. Cliff Burton pulled the ace of spades from the pack, won, and choose the bed he slept on that later led to his death after being thrown away from the bus.

13. His inspiration for writing the immortal riff for "Enter Sandman" was "Soundgarden". Hammett claimed he was trying to recreate the sound of the heavy riffs on Soundgarden's "Louder Than Love" album.

14. One of the names suggested for the black album was "Married To Metal". This was because Kirk, Lars Ulrich, and Jason Newsted divorced during his recording.

15. After touring the "Black Album", he began studying film and art at the "University of San Francisco".

16. During this time he developed his love for blues and jazz.

17. He wanted to contribute solos to the album "St. Anger" but drummer Lars Ulrich and producer Bob Rock thought they were not good enough so they stayed out of the album.

18. During this time (and perhaps because of it) he seriously considered working on a solo album.

19. He has a large collection of vintage toys.

20. He is also a fan of horror movies and a collector of related items.

21. His intense love for horror films led him to found an annual festival for the aforementioned genre called "Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEvil".

22. In 2015 he lost his phone, which he claimed contained about 250 musical ideas for Metallica's next albums. The phone was not backed up and he remembered only 8 of those 250 ideas.

23. Maybe that's why he did not contribute at all to writing the material for the band's latest album "Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct" which was released on his 54th birthday.

24. Hammett appears in the clip for the song "John the Fisherman" by "Primus" as one of the fishermen.

25. He plays solo on the song "Trinity" from Santana's 12th album, "All That I Am".

26. In 2014 he rejoined his bandmates in "Exodus", when he played solo on the song "Salt the Wound" from the band's 14th album - "Blood In, Blood Out".

27. That same year Kirk purchased the "1959 Gibson Les Paul" guitar used by Peter Green and Gary Moore. He use it in the band's performances, during the song "Whiskey in the Jar".

(Photo: MetalCastle)

28. This guitar is very dear to Hammett. He was greatly influenced by Gary Moore and noted that the opening lick of the guitar solo of "Master Of Puppets" is a variation of the lick that Gary Moore played. Kirk added that when he listened to the album "Still Got the Blues" he was simply amazed - not only by the music but also by Gary's guitar sound and tone. He remembered being inspired to write a few riffs just based on Moore's sound and those riffs ended in "The Unforgiven" from "The Black Album".

29. He shares his birthdays with "birthdays" for two "Metallica" albums - "Reload" and "Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct".

30. Kirk is a vegetarian but only for health reasons. He believes that meat is unhealthy.

31. Kirk is ranked 11th on "Rolling Stone" magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page