Hammett’s musical interests eventually drew him into the fledgling thrash metal genre. In 1982, he formed the group Exodus with vocalist Paul Baloff, guitarist Gary Holt, and drummer Tom Hunting. Exodus was a crucial early player in the Bay Area thrash movement.
Hammett was invited to join Metallica after the 1983 dismissal of the band’s original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine for substance abuse, just before Metallica was to record its first album, Kill ‘Em All. At the time Hammett was taking private guitar lessons from now famous Joe Satriani. In 2002, he became the first inductee into Guitar World magazine’s “Hall of Fame”. He has recorded and toured with Metallica for more than twenty years and remains a role model for many modern guitarists.
Though he is primarily Metallica’s lead guitarist, Hammett has written and contributed riffs for Metallica songs since the mid-1980s (particularly in the 1990s during the Load era). One of these riffs, used in “Enter Sandman”, was written in a hotel room at 3:00 am, and became one of Metallica’s most popular songs. It was the first track and first single on Metallica’s self-titled “Black Album” and was ranked 399th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Kirk has often been criticised for his extensive use of the wah-wah pedal in his solos (particularly on more recent albums), but he insists, “The wah-wah is an extension of my personality”. He usually add harmonies to his solos, as seen on Disposable Heroes and The Thing That Should Not Be. Kirk wanted to have guitar solos on Metallica’s 2003 album, St. Anger, but drummer Lars Ulrich and producer Bob Rock thought that the solos did not sound right in the songs. He later himself admitted, “We tried to put in solos but they sounded like an afterthought so we left them out”.
Hammett’s first marriage to ex-wife Rebecca ended in 1990, during the recording of the Black Album, which consumed the band members’ lives for almost an entire year. He now resides in San Francisco with Lani, his second wife, whom he married in 1998. On September 29th, 2006, Kirk and Lani gave birth to a son. His name is Angel Ray Keala Hammett. His brother Richard Likong, a photographer, has photo credits on Metallica’s Master of Puppets album featuring a live shot of then bassist Cliff Burton.
In 2006, Hammett voiced himself on The Simpsons (“The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer”). He also provided various voices on the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse, including a two fingered fan (“The Curse of Dethklok”), The Queen of Denmark (“Happy Dethday”), and a Finnish barkeep (“Dethtroll”)
Hammett was voted #11 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Edited by bjorni9285 on 3 Dec 2006, 11:24
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