James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich don't remember meeting Kirk Hammett

Publish Date
Wednesday, 23 December 2020, 10:41AM

Kirk Hammett's longtime Metallica bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich have no recollection of meeting him.

Hammett made the revelation in a clip, released by Gibson TV ahead of his upcoming Icons interview, the full version of which will premiere at 1 p.m. Eastern Time today (Tuesday, December 22).

The guitarist begins by recalling his then-Exodus bandmate, singer Paul Baloff, coming into rehearsal raving about Metallica circa 1982. At Baloff's urging, Hammett (and about 15 others, by his estimate) went to see Metallica that night at a club in San Francisco.

A few months later, Exodus and Metallica were billed together for a Monday evening gig at San Francisco's Old Waldorf. Metallica had the middle slot and Hammett recalls the venue filling up with people for Metallica and then emptying minutes after their set ended.

Hammett finally met Metallica the following night, when the two bands played a benefit for Metal Mania magazine.

"I met [James and Lars] for the first time in the dressing room of the Mabuhay Gardens, which wasn't much of a dressing room at all; it was like an indoor alley. That was the beginning of my relationship with them," he recalled. "And it's really funny, because years after that, people would ask me, 'When was the first time you ever talked to those guys?' And I would say, 'I first met 'em at the Mab.' And Lars was like, 'Really? I don't remember that.' And James was like, 'Huh? Really?' They don't even remember."

Granted, to Metallica in 1982, Hammett would have been just another guitarist from the scene, as Dave Mustaine was firmly established in his role in the band. Depending on the timing of Hetfield and Ulrich's first meeting with Hammett, they would actually have been on the lookout for a bassist to replace co-founder Ron McGovney.

Metallica fired Mustaine in the spring of 1983 after an ill-fated cross-country trip to Rochester, New York. Hammett joined Metallica in April 1983, as the band was preparing to record its debut album, Kill 'Em All.

With Hammett in the band, Metallica quickly garnered success in the underground metal scene. By the late-'80s, the band had amassed a worldwide following, thanks to a number of flirtations with mainstream acclaim. By 1991, Hammett had written the main riff to "Enter Sandman," and the rest is history.

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission