From the Vault: Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on Entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
We’ve started digging through the Noisecreep interview archives for our new feature called From the Vault. This series will transport you back in time, reflecting on some of the top names in rock and some of the interesting — and in some cases prophetic — things they had to say in years past that make for an interesting read.
Our first piece focuses on Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett, as his band prepared to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With drummer Lars Ulrich recently championing Deep Purple‘s induction, Hammett spoke in 2009 about what acts he felt should be inducted and one of those has acts has since claimed a spot right alongside Metallica in the Rock Hall. The guitarist also spoke about the group’s relationships at the time with Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine and fellow former member Jason Newsted, who as we know are teaming up on the Gigantour this summer.
The following Noisecreep interview was originally published on April 3, 2009 by Carlos Ramirez.
Congrats on getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! It must be surreal. It took so long for Black Sabbath to get in, and like Metallica, they’ve influenced so many musicians. Do you still think there’s a prejudice against heavy metal in the rock world?
Thanks so much! Yeah, we still seem to be the red-headed stepchild of the music scene. It’s pretty ridiculous. There are things that factor into it I guess. The imagery is so strong that it probably just scares the mainstream. Through the years, I’ve met so many different kinds of people who love metal. These days there are no boundaries. You even see business-type guys at shows. So I don’t know, maybe it will change for the scene in terms of respect.
So Jason Newsted will be joining you guys on stage during the ceremony.
Yeah, Jason will be there with us. He was with the band for 14 years and he went through so much with us. Not having him there would just feel wrong. I’m glad he’ll be up there with us to enjoy all of this.
Will he be playing too?
He’ll definitely be playing with us too which will be a lot of fun.
Is Dave Mustaine going to attend the ceremony?
We would love that but the truth is that we don’t know if he’ll be there. I don’t know if you read what he said in the press a few weeks ago. He said he wouldn’t be coming because of his tour or something. It would be cool if he made it out though. You never know I guess.
Do you have any idea what songs you’ll be performing?
I’m sure we all have our personal wish lists in mind right now, but we haven’t sat down to really discuss it. I know we’ll be playing at least two of our songs during the ceremony. I guess we should figure that out soon (laughter).
[Editor's Note: The band performed 'Master of Puppets' and 'Enter Sandman' with Jason Newsted.]
The induction ceremony always has a big jam session at the end. Which of the night’s inductees do you look forward to playing with?
That’s really easy for me. Jeff Beck is going to be inducted into the Hall that night too and I’m a huge fan of his work. I can’t wait to see him, and if he joined in the jam session, I would be so f—ing excited for that! If I got the chance to play along his side, it would a big honor me. Who knows who else will get in on the jam, but Jeff Beck would be enough for me.
If you could induct someone into the Hall, who would it be?
In a perfect world, I would say Rush. They are one of the most consistent yet overlooked bands around. The amount of power and noise that they create out of just three musicians is really amazing. There’s no one like them. Rush is like a combination of a Phillip K. Dick novel and Cream (laughter). When they came out, they were in between Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and us. They are so influential in the rock world. I hope that the people who vote for this stuff get the band in there soon, because they deserve it. If they do get voted in someday, I would be interested in being the person actually inducting them that night (laughter).
[Editor's Note: Rush was inducted with the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.]
You just said that it would be Rush, but I sense from the sound of your voice that there’s another band you would want to see inducted as well.
Yeah, definitely dude. I know they haven’t sold that many records compared to some of the bands in the Hall, but UFO should be in there. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon though. Hey, maybe in 40-50 years they’ll get in, but not in the near future. I’ve loved UFO since I was a teenager.
I know you’re a big Michael Schenker fan. Have you had the chance to jam with him?
He’s one of my favorite guitarists for sure. I’ve met him a few times socially but we’ve never had the chance to play together. If we ever got together to jam, it would be a dream come true for me.