METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke to Australia's Faster Louder about the band's new song "Moth Into Flame", which frontman James Hetfield has said was inspired by Amy Winehouse and the dangers of fame. Asked if he is happy that he and his bandmates are "famous enough" but "not horrifyingly famous," Hammett said: "Yeah… I'll tell you my take on that: musicians, famous musicians, rock stars, aren't really known for their appearance so much as they are for their music, really… Movie stars, movie actors, they have absolutely no privacy, they can't go anywhere, because their whole fame and celebrity is based on their appearance. So I have friends who are big-time movie actors, you can't go out in public with them, basically. Bottom line is for them to go out in public, it's a big ordeal! There's a lot of pre-planning; you can't just go out. With musicians, it's different; we can all just go out and all do our own thing, and if you don't want to get noticed, you do things that don't get you noticed. If you don't want to get noticed, don't go out dressed up like you're about to go out onstage, you know what I mean?"
He continued: "But with Amy Winehouse, I saw the documentary, my take on that was, from the beginning she didn't have a very good support group. There was no one around her who had her own best interests prioritized, and it's a shame, because she was misguided from the very beginning. And when she started to get some guidance, it seemed like it was more difficult to trust people at that point; it was too late at that point. And yeah, it's really unfortunate, y'know, that she was driven to cope in the only way she knew how to cope. And it's a bummer."
Hammett also talked openly about the importance of balancing the touring life and family and how it has helped the METALLICA members stay grounded. He said: "Yeah. Prioritizing family is the most important thing. We all have children, we all acknowledge we need to hang out with our families and children to keep us sane. [Laughs] We set it up so we have a really good balance of band time and family time, and when we go out on the road, we're not out for more than a couple of weeks at a time, and that allows us to put in a good chunk of family time and a good chunk of band time and tour and play shows."
METALLICA has shows booked in South Korea, China, Singapore, Denmark, Mexico and South America over the next three months, but has yet to unveil its full 2017 tour plans, including its first North American tour in eight years.
The band's sole North American date so far is May 21 at the Rock On The Range festival in Columbus, Ohio.
METALLICA's latest album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct", came out in November. The effort consists of two discs, containing a dozen songs and nearly 80 minutes of music.