Metallica's Kirk Hammett: "Toxic Masculinity Has Fueled This Band" | Revolver

Metallica's Kirk Hammett: "Toxic Masculinity Has Fueled This Band"

Guitarist says "this weird masculine macho bullshit thing" pervades their music
Kirk Hammett Jimmy Hubbard 1600x900, Jimmy Hubbard
Kirk Hammett
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

Order Metallica's new album, 72 Seasons, on CD and 2LP vinyl at Revolver's shop.

Metallica have always been a band of brothers — ego clashes, arguments, physical skirmishes and displays of loving affection make up their tumultuous history. The thrash pioneers have experienced all of those internal dynamics over their 40-plus years as a band, and in a new interview, 'Tallica guitarist Kirk Hammett came out and said that "toxic masculinity" has been the very fuel that's gotten them to where they are.

Speaking with the New Yorker for career-spanning profile of the band, Hammett looked back on some of the rough-and-tumble behavior that he's witnessed during his tenure in Metallica — specifically the alpha-male rivalry between singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich.

"We would get drunk, and just start in," Hammett told the New Yorker, recalling the brawls he and his bandmates would get into as younger players. "I remember once James got up and pushed Lars, and Lars literally flew across the room. We would see each other and start wrestling. We could be in a room of twenty people and we'd fixate on each other. No one else mattered."

Beyond the physical violence, Hammett said that he believes the most aggressive and domineering attributes of traditional masculinity make their way into every riff he writes — for better or worse.

"Toxic masculinity has fueled this band," Hammett said. "I'm still sitting around saying, 'OK, I'm gonna write a really, really tough, kick-ass riff.' Just look at my rhetoric there: tough, kick-ass riff. It's an aggression that everyone feels, but it was ratcheted up in us — this weird masculine macho bullshit thing."

Clearly, whatever they've been doing has worked. The band's new album, 72 Seasons, is due out April 14th, 2023, and lead single "Lux Æterna" is out now.