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Kirk Hammett
Kirk Hammett's equipment


Born: November 18, 1962, San Francisco
Marital status: Happily married to Lani on January 31, 1998 in Hawaii. One child, a son named Angel Ray Keala Hammett (born in 2006)
Instrument: Guitar, background vocals
Vitals: Brown eyes, brown hair, 5´8"/1.75 meters tall
Drinks: Martinis, Sky Vodka, green tea
Eats: Sushi, Mexican food, pasta, Indian food, Thai food
Sports teams: None ("I hate sports!")
Before Metallica: Played in Exodus, drank a lot
Likes: Mountain biking, tattoos, piercing, collecting old horror-movie stuff, cigars, philosophy, H.P. Lovecraft, Taxidermy, Pinball, surfing, has two dogs Darla and Hoku, plus cats, Kirk has been surfing for three years
Listens to/listened to: Jimi Hendrix, UFO, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple. Led Zeppelin, Kiss, John Coltrane, Government Mule, Chet Baker, Prez Prado, Alice In Chains, David Bowie, U2, King Crimson, Robert Johnson, Radiohead
Kirk on other bands (added 11th Aug, 2006) - Kirk recently did an interview with AOL Music. He said: I really like this absurd band called Dragonforce. Those are the fastest guitar players I think I've ever seen. They're like Yngwie [Malmsteen] on steroids. No, they're like Barry Bonds on guitar. It's amazing. I saw one video and I swear to God the guy must've played 75,000 notes... I like MUSE, MARS VOLTA, TRIVIUM, THE SWORD. I think WOLFMOTHER is fun. THE BLACK KEYS. And I've been listening to HANK WILLIAMS, because you've just got to. It's as heavy as ROBERT JOHNSON or BOB DYLAN. He also note the last concert he saw, "must've been our own show on YouTube. I was watching our Moscow show from 1991 and thinking, 'Damn, we were good that night. What happened?'
Heroes: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Jimi Hendrix, Chet Baker, Diane Arbus, John Coltrane, Charles Bukowski, Edward Munch, Joel Peter Whitkin
First concert: Day on the Green with the Eagles, Steve Miller, Heart, and Foreigner
Describes self as: Smelly, ugly, happy, obsessive, progressive, curious

 

Kirk Hammett
April 1, 1983, San Francisco, California. A phone rings; "Hi, Kirk? This is Metallica, we just fired our lead guitar player, and we need a new one. Interested?" April 1, 1983, San Francisco, California. A phone rings; "Hi, Kirk? This is Metallica, we just fired our lead guitar player, and we need a new one. Interested?"

Things didn't exactly happen quite that way, but Kirk did play his first show with Metallica fifteen days later in New Jersey. Metallica's then road manager, Mark Whittaker, once managed Kirk's band Exodus. When it became time to switch lead players, Mark was quick to suggest Kirk.

Hammett's playing brought Metallica into an era of more melodic and controlled guitar work. He's been in the band ever since that day in 1983, which surprisingly was less then a month after he and his former band, Exodus opened for Metallica.

Kirk grew up in the Bay area town of El Sobrante and began playing guitar at age 15. His first guitar was a Montgomery Ward catalog special and his first amp a shoe box with a 4 inch speaker. A few years later Kirk "graduated" to a 1978 Fender Stratocaster. Always searching for his sound,Kirk managed to "Frankenstein" the guitar with different pick up and amp combinations. Eventually he traded up to a 1974 Gibson Flying V (just like Michael Schenker's!) That Flying V is still part of Kirk's collection, and still pops up on Metallica's albums.

With his new Flying V, Kirk started playing with other people. This led to a whole other problem: money. A short stint working at Burger King fixed that as it earned him enough cash to buy his first Marshall amp. Around that time, Kirk co-founded Exodus with Paul Baloff. They were the support act for Metallica twice: on November 29, 1982 and March 5, 1983.

After the call from Metallica, Kirk scraped up enough money for a flight to the east coast. He found himself outside his native California for the first time, on the other side of the country and in a new band. Oddly enough, the band never really asked Kirk to join, it wasn't until the recording of Kill 'Em All that he felt confident he was in. After Kill 'Em All and the tour that followed, he took lessons from Joe Satriani and learned the virtues of jazz, blues, classical and Hendrix.

Currently, Kirk can be found in San Francisco with his wife Lani, son Angel and dogs Darla and Hoku, plus cats. Kirk plays his guitar at least 361 days a year.


KIRK ABOUT JASON NEWSTED

“It was pretty devastating when we lost a band member,” Hammett recalls. “We were supposed to be this invincible machine that forged through the land, taking no prisoners. All of a sudden, it opened our eyes to the fact that we weren't invincible. We were prone to all sorts of hidden things. We were prone to things other people were prone to. To me, Jason was my friend. I hung out with him a lot. We didn't want to see him go. But he had been unhappy for a long time. He did what he needed to do to find that happiness again. I guess that didn't include us or Metallica. We didn't want to see him go, but it was healthy for everyone involved.”

 


Kirk's Tattoos
- Click on the image to see a bigger version.

 
         
         
Click here to go to the photo gallery where you can find more pictures of James Hetfield and the other members of Metallica.
         
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Frequently Asked Questions:


What guitar equipment does Kirk use?
Various ESP, along with various vintage guitars, uses Dean Markely strings. Mesa Boogie Amps. Check out Kirk's Equipment for more!

Has Kirk recorded for anyone besides Metallica?
Kirk's old Exodus demo's have been seen floating around, he has also recorded a track with Les Claypool and Mike Bordin set for possible future release (by Primus?), he has produced demo's for Death Angel, he has recorded solo's for Pushead's band Septic Death, you can also find him on the Spawn soundtrack playing guitar on the Orbital song called "Satan" (along with the re-mix of For Whom The Bell Tolls).

Drives: In the year 2004 he bought himself a 1936 Ford coupe done up by custom car legend Cole Foster of Salinas Boys Customs (2004). As a teenager, Kirk Hammett cruised the streets of San Francisco in a 1963 Buick Skylark. It was a nothing but an old beater, but it was easy to fix for a 16-year-old who didn't have much money. "A lot of people would have gone with a '50s car,'' Hammett says. "But I always had my eye on those Ford coupes from the '30's. Just the way those rear wheel wells look. It's a good-looking sled, man.''

What's that under his lip?
That's a labret, a piercing just under his lower lip.

The liner notes say: James-guitar and Kirk-guitar. What does Kirk do?
Kirk's duties on the albums are mostly for the full-blown lead guitar solos, On the albums Load and ReLoad, Kirk's role as guitar player has expanded to playing a more important role in the overall sound.

Does Kirk have a tattoo?
Kirk's tattoo was a present to himself for Christmas 1995, it reads: "Made in SF 11-18-62." It's wrapped around his belly button. He also has hot rod flames on his thighs.

Why is Kirk's right hand wrapped during live shows?
That is Kirk's picking hand, which he does hit pretty hard playing his guitar. The tape cover the lines in his palm that break open as he plays.

Is Kirk a vegetarian?
Yes, Kirk is a "lacto-ovo" vegetarian.

What ethnic background is Kirk?
Kirk is part Filipino.

Who does he credit as his influences?
Jimi Hendrix, UFO, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Joe Satriani, Warren Haynes, Adrian Belew, Freddy King and Buddy Guy.

Two things Kirk owns that you might not have known about..
Kirk owns a stuffed, two headed sheep and a stuffed monkey... we won't talk about what the guy at the morgue acquired for him.

What are Kirk's favorite cigars?
Kirk likes Habanos 94, a Cuban cigar not available in the USA, he also like Fuente y Fuente Opus X as his favorite available in the USA, he can also be found puffing on Cohiba and Lars Tetens.

What jobs has Kirk worked?
Kirk once worked at Burger King and as a dishwasher.

What happened to Kirk's Porsche?
Lost in a bet.

Have a look at the info on the other band members below

James Hetfield    |    Lars Ulrich    |    Rob Trujillo    |    Jason Newsted
Cliff Burton    |    Dave Mustaine    |    Ron McGovney

     

 

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