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Metallica’s James Hetfield Unsure Why Kirk Hammett’s Riffs on Lost Phone Weren’t on Computer, Air Drums to Ghost

At the core, Metallica is James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. The duo have been the primary songwriters, steering the Metallica ship since the band’s inception, not that they don’t welcome contributions from their bandmates like Kirk Hammett. He is not credited on any of the Hardwired… To Self-Destruct tracks and lost his phone, which contained “250 musical ideas,” in the thick of the writing process. Unfortunately, the phone was not backed up, which surprised James Hetfield.

When asked by WRIF how many songs Metallica recorded for the new album and how much content was left on the table, Hetfield explained, “What we’ve done on other albums also is we’ll write as many riffs as we have. We’ve got 40 riffs — maybe this time I think I stopped it at around 24 and said, ‘Come on, there’s some good stuff here.’ So, usually we start developing them and then other ones that you can kind of tell aren’t going to go anywhere — they’re like parts cars. So you start picking riffs off them. Hey there’s a great set of headlights, we’ll use it for that song or the intro or whatever it may be. So they kind of all get picked and it’s like you get the Frankenstein of songs, you get all the best parts.”

Regarding the phone full of riffs that Hammett lost, the frontman said, “That’s what he claims. [laughs] I’m sure he did, but it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t have them on his computer, either. But, whatever, yeah, Kirk had some riffs that he… I guess submitted — it’s not a very nice word to be used if you’re in a band. But you know, we all submit our tapes and we sit there and we listen to them and we pick the best stuff. There was not much stuff from Kirk. Whether his phone was lost, or whatever.”

Meanwhile, in the midst of touring, Hetfield managed to catch Iron Maiden and Ghost in Toronto, Canada on July 15 on a day off. While he’s best known as the singer and rhythm guitarist for the thrash legends, Papa Het is also a competent drummer and couldn’t resist some air drumming as he watched Papa Emeritus and the rest of the Ghost ensemble play their Grammy-winning hit “Cirice” as seen in the video above.

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