Kirk Hammett remembers going to see Metallica live for the first time: “These guys are pretty goddamn good”

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has remembered going to see the band live for the first time before he joined.

Hammett joined the metal titans in 1983, and prior to that he played in the band Exodus.

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In a lengthy new interview for Gibson’s ‘Icons’ series, Hammett remembered being dragged to a Metallica show by Exodus vocalist Paul Baloff.


“I remember we were just sitting around one day, and the singer of Exodus, a guy named Paul Baloff, who was an absolute maniac, he walked into the rehearsal and said, ‘Metallica. So heavy. They’re so heavy’,” Hammett remembered.

“And I was, like, ‘Metallica.’ And I thought, ‘What a great name. It’s like the best name in the world.’ [Baloff] said, ‘Yeah, they’re playing The Stone tonight. We’ve gotta go check ’em out.’ And so we went down there. And literally, there was, like, 15 people there. And I remember being at the front of the stage going, ‘Wow, these guys are pretty goddamn good.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Hammett told the story of Exodus being asked to support Metallica, marking the first time he met James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

“I met those guys for the first time in the dressing of the Mabuhay Gardens, which wasn’t much of a dressing room at all; it was like an indoor alley,” he said. “That was the beginning of my relationship with them.

“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.”


Earlier this month, a new video was released that captured the moment that Kirk Hammett played a 1959 Les Paul guitar which previously belonged to Fleetwood Mac‘s late guitarist Peter Green.

Hammett delivered a rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)’ at a tribute concert for Green which was held at The London Palladium in February – joined by an all-star cast including Mick Fleetwood.