Kirk Hammett Shares METALLICA’s Complex Side From The Early Era

Kirk Hammett explains why METALLICA‘s Justice is so different from other metal bands. He also shares opinions on Bob Rock and his work method with them.

METALLICA‘s “…And Justice for All” is the fourth studio album and released on September 7th, 1988, via Elektra Records. This was the first album since the death of bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, and new bassist with Jason Newsted. Also, Kirk Hammett recently talked about their late-’80s days, also the attitude in the band’s progressive, complex side with this album.

In this interview with Gibson Icons, METALLICA’s guitarist Kirk Hammett shares his feelings about Bob Rock and his work ethic also the band’s complex attitude:

“In the late ’80s, the music culture kind of steered itself towards musical proficiency, and how proficient you were with your instrument, and how virtuosic you can be with your technique. There was a lot of emphasis on that kind of thing, and there were a lot of instrumental albums being put out by a lot of guitar players that were super-successful.

So when it came to a time to get all the music together for ‘…And Justice for All’, we had a bevy of rifts that were just that much more thought-out and developed, and more progressive, because we had the ability to be more progressive, so we just took that and ran with it. We knew because we had a relationship with MTV when they were planning on playing the video. They said, ‘Yeah, we’ll play it twice an hour, so six o’clock we’re gonna play it twice an hour, eight o’clock we’re gonna play twice, blah, blah, blah.’ So we actually knew in advance what was going to come on.

And I remember watching it, and then afterward the VJ said, ‘Oh, man, that was depressing… OK, now on to better things.’ And instantly I thought, ‘We have something.’ If that was the reaction of the VJ, and there are no videos like that on MTV at that point that was like the ‘One’ video with dialogue. I thought, ‘We’re on to something. We are on to something here.’ I always knew the song was great but you can think a song is great but the audience will for some reason or another think otherwise. But I just knew from the reaction that VJ that we had something that was actually hitting people on an emotional level.”

Kirk Hammett also shared his feeling about Bob Rock:

“For me, I think Bob is an amazing producer, and he’s also an amazing engineer, and he has an amazing ear for guitar sounds, for drum sounds… Some of the best guitar sounds that I have ever gotten ever in my life, I’ve gotten with Bob Rock. And a lot of it is just like chasing tones, blending amps, using certain amps, certain pickups, certain guitars with certain amps, various combinations, blending amps, blending guitars…

What I like about Bob Rock is that he is into the pursuit – if he hears something, a sound, or performance, he will pursue that or make you pursue it until he believes you’ve reached that point. And a lot of times it’s a lot of frustration, and there’s a lot of footage that shows him being just so frustrated going, ‘It’s not there yet.

It’s not there yet. Do it! Push, push, do it!’ And he would do anything, say anything to just push us to that next level… Being recognized and getting so much attention from so many other guitar players all over the world – yeah, I feel the pressure of that, and I feel the expectations of that, but I’m not gonna let it affect the outcome of my own musicality.

He also pointed out the complex side: “And I don’t know what the world’s going to be like in the future, but as long as there’s a need for aggressive, energetic music that’s somewhat therapeutic, I think that there will be musicologists in the future, they’re going to find our music and find some merit and quality in it. And that’s huge.”

You can also order the “…And Justice For All” remastered version here.

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