During a recent appearance on Backstaged: The Devil in Metal Podcast, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett looked back to his childhood days, and how he was abused by his father.
“I had a bad childhood. I experienced a lot of darkness early on in my life that I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to,” Kirk said. Unfortunate things happened to me as a child. And so that real-life darkness came to me way too early in my life.
“Basically, guitar playing and music saved my life. And it was a type of therapy for me. It made me feel better when I knew that I wasn’t feeling great. And I was so young. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. And I didn’t know this was because of circumstances and situations. I didn’t put that together.
“I just knew that guitar playing helped me feel better and calmed me down as an adolescent, as a teenager, as an adult, up to like now,” he continued. “I mean, I have a lot of anxiety and I’m prone to depression-like most people. My guitar helps me through all that. A good heavy metal song is like a good horror movie. It’s intense, it’s unpredictable. It has a lot of the same feelings, of the darker things in life…
“Your brain just gets that feeling,” Kirk added. “Like myself, there’s a lot of people out there that when they hear that darkness, that gloom, it’s cathartic. It feels good, you know? It feels like you can get to the darker parts of your life and experience them without really experiencing them.”
As per Ultimate Guitar, Hammett’s recent interview links back to a previous one from 2001, where Hammett spoke on his relationship with his abusive father.
“James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] comes from a broken home, and I come from a broken home, and when I joined the band, we kind of bonded over that. I was abused as a child. My dad drank a lot. He beat the sh*t out of me and my mom quite a bit. I got ahold of a guitar, and from the time I was 15, I rarely left my room.
“I remember having to pull my dad off my mom when he attacked her one time — during my 16th birthday — he turned on me and started slapping me around. Then my dad just left one day. My mom was struggling to support me and my sister. I’ve definitely channeled a lot of anger into the music.”
Dates andtickets for METALLICA‘s this year’s live shows can be found here.