METALLICA's Kirk Hammett Says Fade to Black is About Homesickness
Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammet – Photo Credit: Jeff Yeager

METALLICA‘s guitarist, songwriter, and rock legend Kirk Hammett spoke about the song “Fade to Black”. His therapy was just music and guitar.

The song “Fade to Black” is the fourth track of the American heavy metal band

METALLICA‘s “Ride the Lightning album”. The song increased the popularity of the band, recorded in Denmark in 1984. Also, the guitar solo in the song is referred to as one of the best guitar solos in the world. This performance belongs to Kirk Hammett.

“Fade to Black”, one of METALLICA‘s most popular and successful songs

Kirk Hammett in 1984 - Credit: Joseph Carlucci
Kirk Hammett in 1984 – Credit: Joseph Carlucci

has come under criticism from time to time. Especially parents say that the song is not suitable for children because the content of the song is about suicide. So what do METALLICA members think about this? Does the song really encourage suicide?

Kirk recently spoke to Gibson TV and told the story and the process of the“Fade to Black” and “Ride the Lightning” in the interview.

He says the album “Ride the Lightning” was a really difficult process. The band, whose financial situation was terrible and had a small budget, agreed with a

“We thought it would be good to be away from the Bay Area, to have some headrest,” says Kirk. But he says they didn’t think they would stay that long. This process was 5 or 6 months and for him, it was totally depressive times. He says he missed his country and was homesick.

“I remember a lot of those feelings that are around the lyrics of ‘Fade to Black’ had a lot to do with just feeling homesick because we were all just pining for home.

I remember being depressed, wanting to be home – when it came time to do my solos, and I remember just being like, ‘I have all this energy but I’m just bummed out at the same time.”

Also, Kirk Hammett says he found his therapy on guitar and melodies.

There are also good things about “Ride the Lightning”. This time away from their country and closing to the studio gave them a greater chance to discover music more. It was quite useful for discovering specific guitar sounds.

“I mean, all great-sounding album’s sound with great drum sounds. And we knew that; we knew Sweet Silence had a reputation for being a great-sounding studio.”

What Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield Think About “Fade to Black”?

While singing the song “Fade to Black”, Kirk Hammett touched on issues related to homesickness and depression. Maybe this was a little light. Because Lars Ulrich says they were completely obsessed with death throughout the album process. (MTV Icons)

The song’s lyrics address suicidal feelings. It begins with an acoustic guitar introduction and becomes progressively heavier as the song goes on.

James Hetfield commented on the song in a 1991 interview;

“That song was a big step for us. It was pretty much our first ballad, so we knew it would freak people out… Recording that song, I learned how frustrating acoustic guitar can be. You could hear every squeak, so I had to be careful. I wrote the song at a friend’s house in New Jersey.

I was pretty depressed at the time because our gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager’s house for breaking shit and drinking his liquor cabinet dry.”

James Hetfield says about the parents who think “Fade to Black” is a bad example for their children; “It’s a suicide song, and we got a lot of flak for it as if kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better.”

You can listen to the “Fade to Black” song below.

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