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Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Recalls First Guitar Lesson With Joe Satriani

Kevin RC Wilson / Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Kevin RC Wilson / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Where would thrash be without Joe Satriani? The guitar virtuoso has taught some of thrash’s best guitarists, including Alex Skolnick (Testament), Rick Hunolt (Exodus) and Metallica‘s own Kirk Hammett. In a new interview, Hammett recalled taking lessons from Satriani, including the very first lesson he received.

Prior to joining Metallica in 1983, Hammett played in Bay Area legends Exodus and was one of the band’s founding members, starting up the group back in ’79. After two years, he started taking lessons from Satriani and told Vancouver, Canada radio station CFOX, “We knew each other way back when. He gave lessons out of a small music store in Berkeley, California. And all of my friends were taking lessons from him and they were becoming incredible guitar players literally overnight. So I found him and said, ‘Hey, I want to become an incredible guitar player overnight, too.’ And so I took lessons from him for a while — for about a year or so.”

When asked what he first learned, the Metallica six-stringer recalled, “It was actually very poignant. His first lesson to me was, ‘Learn your lesson. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste my time. I expect you to know everything that I gave you in a week’s time.’ I was, like, ‘This guy is serious.’ But you know what? I did it, and he kicked my ass. But after a while, I was taking two lessons a week from him. I became so thirsty for what he had to offer me, I was just, like, ‘Bring it on! It’s all making sense. I want learn more.'”

Hammett went on to praise Satriani’s skills, saying, “Ever since I first met him, he’s always played incredibly — with all the sounds and all the bar stuff and tapping and crazy licks that no one’s ever played, and still probably never plays. I mean, he’s just such a unique individual as a musician.”

The guitarist also discussed his “It’s Alive!” horror and sci-fi exhibit, which opened Aug. 12 in Salem, Mass., and runs until Nov. 26. The exhibit contains 75 posters, six guitars and 10 related images from Hammett’s personal collection.

Metallica have been nominated for Metal Album of the Year and Metal Artist of the Year in the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards, and you can vote for your favorites here. The winners will be announced live on Oct. 24 at the awards ceremony and concert with performances coming from Judas Priest‘s Rob HalfordAnthraxNothing MoreHalestormBody CountStarset and Power Trip with more announcements still to come. For tickets, head to this location.

Kirk Hammett Interviewed by CFOX

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