Metallica’s Kirk Hammett: “Toxic Masculinity Has Fuelled This Band”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett spoke about toxic masculinity and how he feels it has “fuelled” the band for the last five decades, in a new interview with The New Yorker.

“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,” Hammett, who joined the metal icons in 1983, told the publication. “It’s an aggression that everyone feels, but it was ratcheted up in us – this weird masculine macho bullshit thing.”

Hammett went on to say that frontman James Hetfield would often provoke the crowds in the early days of the band. He’d say things like, “Hey, any time this stuff gets too heavy for you… tough shit!”

The “macho bullshit” also extended to the group’s personal relationships. “We would get drunk, and just start in,” Hammett recalled. “I remember once James got up and pushed Lars [Ulrich] and Lars literally flew across the room.”

He continued, “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 an impending album, 72 Seasons. The band also shared the record’s first single, “Lux Æterna.”

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, possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are,” Hetfield said of the album. “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.”

To promote the album, Metallica will head back out on the road in April of 2023. The premise for the tour is a unique one: each city will get two shows with a unique setlist. The band has tapped Five Finger Death Punch, Mammoth WVH and Greta Van Fleet as support acts. A portion of the proceeds from each of the shows will benefit the band’s All Within My Hands foundation.

Photos: Tim Saccenti / Nasty Little Man

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