Metallica’s Kirk Hammett: “Toxic masculinity has fuelled this band”

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett performing live on-stage

Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett has explained in a new interview how “toxic masculinity” has helped sustain the group.

Speaking to The New Yorker for a lengthy profile, the guitarist – who joined the iconic metal outfit in 1983 – said: “Toxic masculinity has fuelled this band.

“I’m still sitting around saying, ‘OK, I’m gonna write a really, really tough, kick-ass riff’. Just look at my rhetoric there: tough, kick-ass riff. It’s an aggression that everyone feels, but it was ratcheted up in us – this weird masculine macho bullshit thing.”

Hammett told the publication that frontman James Hetfield would sometimes antagonise the audience at Metallica’s early shows: “Hey, any time this stuff gets too heavy for you… tough shit!”

As for the personal relationships within the band, Hammett recalled: “We would get drunk, and just start in. I remember once James got up and pushed Lars [Ulrich, drummer], and Lars literally flew across the room.

Metallica, 2022. CREDIT: Press

“We would see each other and start wrestling. We could be in a room of twenty people and we’d fixate on each other. No one else mattered.”

Earlier this week, Metallica announced their 11th studio album ’72 Seasons’ and shared its first single, ‘Lux Æterna’. The record will follow on from the band’s 2016 LP ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’, and is due for release on April 14, 2023.

Metallica are set to embark on a huge world tour that same month, which includes their previously-confirmed Download Festival headline slots.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the forthcoming new album’s title, James Hetfield explained: “72 seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are.

“I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry.”

Meanwhile, Lars Ulrich has spoken of Metallica’s decision to let Stranger Things use ‘Master Of Puppets’ in the show’s fourth season.

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