Dave Mustaine Praises Metallica’s Kirk Hammett: ’He’s a Really Good Guitar Player’

During his interview with Heavy Consequence, Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine talked positively about Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, saying that people are unrightfully “taking the piss out of Kirk.”

In a newly published interview excerpt, Mustaine was asked about some of the criticisms that Kirk received over his guitar solo on “Lux Æterna” which comes from Metallica’s latest record “72 Seasons.” Although Mustaine admits that he didn’t listen to the album, he replied:

“I heard that people are taking the piss out of Kirk. But Kirk’s a really good guitar player and I think that people forget real quickly he was winning every single guitar contest there was for 30 or 40 years … I have not heard their new album, but I’m sure it’s great.”

Megadeth - Live at Graspop Metal Meeting 2022 (Pro-Shot) [60fps]

During the chat, the Megadeth frontman reflected on his time in Metallica before he was fired back in the early 1980s. Despite the neverending discussions and disagreements between the two sides on how things actually went, Mustaine says that he’s at peace:

“It took a while for James and Lars and I to kind of come around and become friends again. But I would say we’re probably better off now than we’ve been for a long time.”

“And it comes and goes. I think the emotions between all of us… It’s probably understandable for a lot of people who break up with someone, it’s like a marriage and you part ways and sometimes you try and justify in your head the decision that you make.”

Kirk Hammett - High Plains Drifter (Official Video)

After explaining that there’s often a lot of misinformation being spread, with people adding “salacious facts,” Mustaine ended it on a very positive note, saying that he’s thankful for his time in Metallica:

“I just look at that whole period with Metallica as something that was really great for me. And I wish them the best.”

In another recent interview, Mustaine also confirmed that he hasn’t yet heard Metallica’s new record, offering:

“No, I have not heard Metallica’s latest record. But there was a time around 20 years ago when we were not being friendly toward each other when I couldn’t listen to their music when it came on the radio.“

KIRK HAMMETT'S crazy solo⚡⚡⚡🤘🤘🤘💀💀💀

“But none of that bothers me anymore, and it’s not why I haven’t heard the record, especially after the Big Four thing that we did. I really think we should do that again.”

As far as Kirk’s new solos go and the reactions he received, Mustaine said:

“It depends on which solos you’re talking about [laughs]. Jokes aside, I’ve always kind of poked fun at Kirk. And unfairly so, as he never did anything to me.“

“Whenever I felt singled out, picked on, or antagonized by James [Hetfield] or Lars [Ulrich], it was really easy to pick on Kirk.“

Metallica with Dave Mustaine - Live In San Francisco 1983 [Full Concert] /mG

“But the truth is Kirk did me an honor by trying to play my solos on those early songs the way he did.”

He also added:

“I thought it was honorable that Kirk took my solos and did his best to play them as I did. That couldn’t have been easy.“

“But as far as his new solos on the new Metallica album, I haven’t heard them, so I can’t comment. But I will say that I think it’s sad how quickly some people can turn on people.“

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“There was a time when Kirk won every guitar contest in the world, and I don’t think he’s gotten any better or worse as a player.“

“He’s always been really good. Kirk was a good player when he was in Exodus. And he’s been steady the entire time he’s been in Metallica. But does that mean Kirk Hammett is Dave Mustaine? No. And is Dave Mustaine Kirk Hammett? Also, no.”

The criticism we’re talking about here was aimed at Kirk’s lead parts on Metallica’s “72 Seasons.” One YouTuber named Bradley Hall came into the spotlight for recording his own version of the “Lux Æterna” and then supposedly even attracting Kirk’s attention, although the Metallica guitarist never directly mentioned Bradley by name.

Metallica "Lux Æterna" But The Solo Doesn't Suck

Bradley Hall clarified:

“People are not mocking him and his solos because they’re not hard to play. People are mocking him because the solos sound lazy and completely throwaway.”

“This is the most common deflection that people use when they’re criticizing their playing. It’s not about who can play the most complicated solo, he’s missing the point, the point of the criticism.”

“I think most people understood what I was trying to do with this video. But some missed the point, of course, including Kirk, I guess. It was not to try and one-up him… That’s cringe. Like, who cares?”

Metallica: Lux Æterna (Official Music Video)

“The idea of the video was just to try and show what could have been done if you just paid a bit more attention to what’s going on in the backing. You know, like follow the riff and the rhythms and chords and all that stuff. You know, things that you should do when a good memorable solo.”

“Kirk’s original solo — I can kind of see what he was going for. He just wanted sort of a raw off-the-wall unhinged kind of sound. But that’s not that sort of song. That solo would sound more in place in like a really thrashy sort of Slayer song.”

Photos: Ralph Arvesen (Kirk Hammett 2017), Selbymay (HF2022Megadeth 2)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.