Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on Changing Dave Mustaine’s Solos on Kill ‘Em All: It was always for the better – 2022

Revolver Magazine: 7 wild stories from the making of Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ You can read all 7 @ this location.


1. Kirk Hammett joins the band barely a month before the album sessions began – Despite having already temporarily relocated to the East Coast to begin work on what would be their full-length debut, Metallica’s ongoing conflicts with lead guitarist Dave Mustaine had deteriorated to the point where the band saw no other choice but to bring in a new axeman for the recording sessions — even though they were only a month away from going into the studio.

The Metallica vacancy was a golden opportunity for Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett, even though it meant diving straight into the deep end. “I had a week to learn the songs,” he told Music Radar in 2008. “At the end of that week I flew out and I had a week to rehearse with them, and then we started playing shows. Every show just kept on getting better.”

But when it came time to actually go into the studio, Jonny Zazula, the band’s manager, insisted that Hammett recreate Mustaine’s solos on the album. “[He] said, ‘You know you have to play Dave’s solos.’ I said I didn’t really want to. ‘Then why don’t you take the opening to every solo, so that people think that they’re Dave’s solos and then you can go somewhere else with them” he said. As a 20-year-old kid, put in a position like that, you don’t want to rock the boat too much, especially being the new kid in town — the fresh guy. So, I said, ‘Sure.’ That’s exactly what I did. I took the first four bars of most of the solos and changed them. When I changed them, it was always for the better and everyone liked it.”

2. The album is recorded in a haunted mansion
Kill ‘Em All was recorded at Music America, a low-budget recording studio located in a large old house in Rochester, New York. Though the ballroom on the mansion’s second floor was acoustically excellent — the band recorded their drums and guitar amps up there for extra ambience — it also contained some decidedly disconcerting supernatural energy.

“The actual studio was in the basement of this huge old colonial-type of clubhouse,” Lars Ulrich told Metal Hammer in 2008. “On the second floor there was a huge ballroom, perfect for getting a good drum sound. The problem was the place was fucking haunted — I had to have someone else up there the whole time I was recording. My cymbals would start spinning for no reason, shit like that. It was scary.”

You can read the rest of the stories @ this location.