Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett credits the band’s personal growth for his debut solo release of Portals. While chatting with Kerrang, Hammett explained how the new EP came to be through his own sobriety and the band’s maturity. He touched upon how former-bassist Jason Newsted‘s 2001 exit came about, in part, to his wanting to pursue a solo project away from the band. 

Hammett compared the difference between Newsted wanting to stretch his wings and him doing so today: “It is 20 years later and Metallica have gotten even bigger since then. So trying to divert any kind of focus at this point, it would take an army to do that. And it’s just good ol’ me. And also we’ve all grown. We’ve all grown from our experiences and we’ve certainly grown from (Jason Newsted’s departure). It’s a recognition that we’re all musicians, we’re all artists. Who’s to say to someone else, ‘Don’t put your art out there, I don’t want you to’? We’ve all grown up, basically.”

He went on to say, “So the question is, were we not grown up back then? Of course not. We’ll be the first ones — or at least I will — to put my hands up and say I only feel like I’ve reached maturity in the last 10 f***ing years. Also I have to say I’ve been sober for seven-and-a-half years now and my mind is in a different place, I’m better focused. I got my brain back, I’ve gotten my memory back so nowadays I’m in a better place. I record music and my focus is that much better.”

Hammett spoke about being able to tap into a different mindset when writing and playing the material he creates apart from Metallica: “It was a very conscious effort to write things for Portals that did not sound like they could be on the next Metallica album. And that’s very easy because I play all different kinds of music. I play jazz, bossa nova, rock, all sorts of stuff. It’s very easy for me to know what a Metallica formula is because I helped f***ing formulate it. So it was very easy for me to not write stuff that sounded like Metallica and vice-versa — it’s very easy for me to slip into Metallica mode and write heavy, aggressive music. I’ve been doing it for so long I can literally put myself in that mode in 10 seconds.”

Metallica performs tonight (April 27th) in Santiago, Chile at Club Hípico.

  • Metallica North American tour dates (subject to change):
    May 27 – Napa, CA – BottleRock at Napa Valley Expo
    July 28, 29, 30, 31 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza at Grant Park ***Metallica date TBA
    August 11 – Buffalo, NY – Highmark Stadium
    August 14 – Pittsburgh, PA – PNC Park


  • Kirk Hammett‘s Portals features four instrumental tracks “Maiden And The Monster,” “The Jinn,” “High Plains Drifter,” and “The Incantation.”
  • The set was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris, and Oahu, and features Edwin Outwater — the musical director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Ontario, Canada, along with members of the L.A. Philharmonic, drummers Jon Theodore and Abe Laboriel, Jr. — best known for his work with Paul McCartney, bassist Greg Fidelman, orchestrator Blake Neely, and famed producer Bob Rock.

CHECK IT OUT: “Maiden And Monster” from Kirk Hammett’s Portals: