The guitar solo in Metallica's "Master of Puppets" is one of the most glorious musical passages in metal history. Full stop. It's breathtaking in every way, but apparently Kirk Hammett is "freaking bored" of playing it during Metallica's shows. In a new interview with Total Guitar, the thrash virtuoso lamented that performing that iconic solo exactly the way it was recorded back in 1986 doesn't bring him the creative satisfaction that it once did. And even though he's happy fans still enjoy it, he'd much rather improvise a new solo than play the "Master of Puppets" one note-for-note.
"What I'm going to say people are probably gonna hate, but it drives me nuts having to play that fucking guitar solo in 'Master of Puppets' every time," Hammett said, as transcribed by Guitar World.
"People love that guitar solo and they come to see that. That's fine. For that part of our career, all those solos are locked in. I don't view them as solos anymore; they're parts. I'm freaking bored of it, but it's exciting for people to hear."
"You know, I'm not bored of the solo," Hammett clarified after a pause. "I just get bored of playing the same thing all the time."
He went on to say that he greatly prefers the improvised solo he plays in "Fade to Black" during Metallica shows, and even appreciates the momentary failure of noodling into a wrong note while making something up on the fly. Anything, it seems, is more fulfilling to Hammett than playing a 37-year-old guitar solo the exact same way every time.
"I'm inviting all sorts of criticism and opinions but I don't fucking care," Hammett continued. "It's like the solo on 'Fade to Black.' I play the first eight bars and then I go on a tangent for like 20, 24 bars and then come back in the last four bars and play parts that everyone knows. That's one of my most favorite parts of playing that song live because I don't know what the fuck I'm gonna play."
"When you buy a ticket to a Metallica show you're gonna hear different versions of the songs," he added. "You're not gonna hear carbon copy versions of the album ... Usually, I surprise myself; sometimes I die a fucking death. It's horrible to die on stage in front of 50,000 people, but it only lasts an instant and then it's gone. Then I can go on to other pastures and make up for what I didn't do."