Kirk Hammett Reveals How Kurt Cobain Acted While Attending Metallica’s Show in ’90s, Recalls Which Song Nirvana Frontman Requested Them to Play

Almost three decades after his passing, Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain is still remembered as one of the most impactful musicians in rock music. Although it’s difficult, or impossible, to point out which exact musician started the grunge movement, it’s clear that Kurt had a great role in defining it.

In the early 1990s, music was obviously changing, and rock and metal were at their peak. Aside from Nirvana, we had Metallica who achieved massive success with their self-titled album, popularly known as “The Black Album.”

During a recent interview with NME, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett recalled the early 1990s and his friendship with Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. In fact, at one moment, there was even a possibility for Nirvana to go on tour with Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Unfortunately, that never happened. Kirk explained:

“I had to make the phone call to Kurt to talk to him about the possibility of joining our tour and he just went on and on about how he just didn’t like what Guns N’ Roses stood for and I said to him: ‘Just go out there and represent Nirvana – just play the show and then that’s it’. I pleaded with him, but he just wasn’t having it. So there you have it. It would have been great if Nirvana was part of that tour – but you know [the actual opening act] Faith No More were great as well.”

Metallica: Live in Muskegon, Michigan - November 1, 1991 (Full Concert)

“When we played Seattle on the ‘The Black Album’ tour, I remember calling Kurt to invite him to the show and he said to me: ‘Are you guys going to play ‘Whiplash’? That’s my favorite Metallica song!’. When he came to the show, he was in the snakepit [an area onstage] with Courtney Love and every time he walked by, he tried to get my attention but my head was somewhere else.”

Metallica: Whiplash (Live - San Diego '92) [Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge]

“He was great. I became friends with him right when the first Nirvana album [1989’s ‘Bleach’] came out before people were even calling it grunge, and it’s so sad when I think back to all the guy wanted to do was play guitar and write songs and sing and somehow that all got destroyed for him.”

Photo: Ralph Arvesen (Kirk Hammett 2017), Adam Jones (Minibus with Kurt Cobain Portrait – Bhaktapur – Nepal (13486900064) crop)

  • 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.