Kirk Lee Hammett (born November 18, 1962) is the lead guitarist and a songwriter in the Heavy Metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003 Kirk Hammett was ranked 11th in Rolling Stone's list - The 100 Greatest Guitarists of the world.
Early life (1962–1980)Born on November 18, 1962 in San Francisco to a Filipina mother (Chefela) and an Irish Merchant Marine father. Kirk Hammett attended De Anza High School in Richmond, California. While attending De Anza High School he met Les Claypool of Primus and they remain good friends to this day.
After picking up a 1978 Fender Stratocaster copy, Hammett attempted to customize his sound with variousguitar parts, eventually falling for a 1974 Gibson Flying V. Hammett also took a job at Burger King as a youth before quitting once he saved enough money for his Marshall amplifier.
Hammett's musical interests eventually drew him into the fledgling thrash metal genre. In 1980, he formed the group Exodus with vocalist Paul Baloff, guitarist Gary Holt, bassist Geoff Andrews, anddrummer Tom Hunting. He played on Exodus' 1982 Demo. Exodus was a crucial early player in the Bay Area thrash movement.
Main article: Metallica
In 1983 Hammett was invited to join Metallica following the dismissal of the band's original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983, who went on to form the band Megadeth in response to his unsatisfied dismissal from Metallica'slineup. This was prior to the recording of Kill 'Em All. At the time Hammett was taking private guitar lessons from the now-famous touring guitarist Joe Satriani.
Kirk Hammett in 2008
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" became one of Metallica's most popularsongs. 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 greatest songs of all time.
The bridge for "Creeping Death" was originally an Exodus riff that Hammett took with him to Metallica.
Hammett is also known for always having his picking hand taped up. During the course of a full tour, due to constantly palmmuting and fast picking, the palm of his hand takes sizable abuse.
Hammett's playing style is noted for his extensive use of the wah-wah pedal in his solos. Hammett says "The wah-wah is an extension of my personality." Hammett's use of the wah-pedal hadn't been featured in recent Metallica solos, but has seen a resurgence in his solos on the newest album, Death Magnetic, in song like "TheUnforgiven III."
Hammett initially 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 admitted himself, "We tried to put in solos but they sounded like an afterthought so we left them out".
On April 4, 2009, Kirk, along with Metallica bandmates Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, andRobert Trujillo and former Metallica bandmates Jason Newsted and the late Cliff Burton, were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. In 2009 Hammett supplied the foreword to British author Joel McIver's book To Live Is To Die: The Life And Death Of Metallica's Cliff Burton.
In 2005, Hammett was featured playing the guitar roles on the Carlos Santana track "Trinity"alongside steel-pedal guitarist, Robert Randolph.
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"). * He also appeared as a guest in an episode of Space...