METALLICA Guitarist KIRK HAMMETT: 'I Can't See Us Stopping Anytime Soon'

Therese Owen of South Africa's Tonight recently interviewed METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On how the band maintains their chemistry and energy:

"We definitely have a ritual. We get together beforehand in one room where we just play riffs - ours, someone else's. We just jam for about 20 minutes. Then we go through our own warm-ups, physical exercises, that kind of thing. I do yoga."

On why METALLICA have chosen to play in South Africa over a week:

"We've always wanted to come here but the timing has never been right. At the moment we are busy writing songs for an album so we had time to come out here. Plus, we get to go on safari because we have free days between the gigs!"

On whether Kirk ever throught that 25 years later he would still be playing to sell- out crowds:

"I was telling James [Hetfield] today that I think we are in it for the long haul. I can't see us stopping anytime soon. When I started playing guitar I just wanted to play my guitar well.

"Growing up I loved JIMI HENDRIX, LED ZEPPELIN, AEROSMITH, KISS. I just wanted to be a great guitar player. When METALLICA started we were the outlaws, the rebels. No one wanted to have anything to do with us. We were too harsh and thought of as the lowliest of the low. All those beginning years we thought we were never getting anywhere or making an impact. Then one day we woke up and it was like, 'Oh my God - we're famous; everyone knows us."

On being cited as an inspiration by so many of today's bands:

"It tells us we're doing something right. But I know the power of inspiration. It's pretty strong and it's an honour that we have inspired so many people. I was inspired by BLACK SABBATH and the other day we played a tribute to BLACK SABBATH and the whole band were all there watching us. It felt really strange... They of course were very entertained by the idea that we were playing their songs for them."

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