In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett says that he was “pretty shocked” that he got the “blessings” from all of his bandmates to release his debut solo EP, Portals, especially considering that METALLICA‘s former bassist Jason Newsted famously left the group more than two decades ago over the way his then-side project ECHOBRAIN was handled.
Hammett said: “It was amazing because our band has not had a lot of great progress with band members going solo, as everyone knows. But all that went down almost 20 years ago, and we’re such different people now. We’re all just older, wiser, and more mature. Well, I don’t know if we’re wiser, but we’re definitely older, and a little bit more mature, a little bit more responsible. So something like this takes on a different sort of meaning now than it would have 20 years ago.”
When asked what has changed since the 2001 interview METALLICA gave to Playboy magazine in which frontman James Hetfield said, “When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of METALLICA,” Hammett responded: “Well, we kind of see it like this: We’re not musicians, we’re artists. Ethically, morally, and creatively, it’s wrong to deny someone the opportunities to express themselves and create. And I think that’s kind of where everyone is sitting right now. Also, now we’re so much more accepting of what happens in our lives because so much stuff has happened to us in the last 20 years — so much stuff has happened in the last five years.
“I think we’re a little bit more aware of our own mortality and how much more time we have as functioning artists, musicians, and band members. So there are other things that are more important to consider, like the longevity of the group, the mental health of the group, the creative energy of the group.
“And those guys know I ain’t f*cking going anywhere,” he added. “METALLICA is my f*cking bed. METALLICA is my home, and it would be fruitless to leave the band because, if I did, people would be reminding me every single day of how I was the METALLICA guitar player. I don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to resist that. I want to always f*cking be seen as just another guy in METALLICA trying to make the best music along with these other three guys because that’s basically what we do. That’s our calling. It’s what the freaking universe wants us to do. I think along those lines.”
Portals are available today and you can check them on Amazon here.