Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Felt ‘Insecure’ About His Solo EP, James Hetfield Then Gave Him This Piece of Advice

It was quite a surprise to find out that Kirk Hammett was going to release a solo EP, titled “Portals.” The news dropped earlier this year and he eventually became the first active Metallica member to have his solo material out with the release of “High Plains Drifter” this month. The EP will feature four instrumental pieces and will come out on April 23.

But despite his decades-long experience in Metallica and Exodus, as well as years of lessons with Joe Satriani, it seems that Hammett is still pretty self-conscious about his music. During a recent interview with The Mercury News, the guitarist explained that he felt “insecure and nervous” about the whole thing due to not having the rest of the band with him. He explained:

“Usually when there is an album release — it’s the four of us. We all have each other’s backs. We are all supporting each other, because it’s kind of a nerve-wracking sort of emotional and mental thing. Usually, during this time, we have each other to talk to about any sort of insecurities or whatnot. But now that I have put out a solo album, I am the guy who bears the whole burden of all that.”

“I said to James [Hetfield], ‘This is weird. I have an album release and usually I have you three other guys. But it’s just me and it makes me feel insecure and nervous.'”

“And James only had one reply: ‘This is a growth and learning experience for you, bro.’ And I go, ‘Thank you for saying that because I didn’t see it like that.’

When the interviewer mentioned that the EP doesn’t sound like a Metallica release and that there are some prog feels to it, Hammett responded:

“It was important to have a different vibe and a different approach. And you are absolutely correct on the prog side. I wasn’t ever into prog music until about five years ago.”

“All of sudden, I started listening to prog — kind of by accident. I went out and bought the entire Yes catalog and I just devoured Yes for like a month. I went out and bought all the Jethro Tull stuff and just devoured that.”

He also added:

“Ian Anderson and Martin Barre are really phenomenal. I recognize that Yes and Jethro Tull have all sorts of reasons why they are instrumental in the development of heavy metal. I see it. Genesis, King Crimson, ELP — just tons of prog. Yes, it is a big influence — as is classical music.”

Photo: Wikimedia commons


  • 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.