Dave Mustaine Now Says Kirk Hammett Did Him the ‘Honor’ of Keeping His Metallica Solos
The Megadeth leader's relationship with Metallica on the whole has historically been contentious, fueling decades of fan debate while providing countless soundbites from both bands.
Although he has previously expressed anger and frustration at Metallica for using material he wrote after they decided to kick him out of the band, he tells Guitar World in a new interview why Hammett taking on his solos was a positive thing.
Perhaps ironically, Hammett receives praise from Mustaine under the pretext of criticism, asked if the "recent flak" Hammett has taken for his guitar solos is fair.
Dave Mustaine on Kirk Hammett Playing His Solos in Metallica
"It depends on which solos you're talking about," Mustaine says with a laugh, continuing, "Jokes aside, I've always kind of poked fun at Kirk. And unfairly so, as he never did anything to me. Whenever I felt singled out, picked on, or antagonized by James [Hetfield] or Lars [Ulrich], it was really easy to pick on Kirk."
Mustaine certainly isn't the only one who has put Hammett in the crosshairs of criticism. The guitarist came under pretty heavy fire regarding his efforts on Metallica's new album, 72 Seasons. So much so that he had to defend his playing style and approach to writing solos, which was then torn down by a YouTuber who wrote a replacement solo on "Lux Aeterna."
Taking it back to the early days of Metallica, the Megadeth leaders confesses, "But the truth is Kirk did me an honor by trying to play my solos on those early songs the way he did."
Perhaps a bit of a backhanded compliment, Mustaine explains, "Well, I think that some people would have just started over again. So, I thought it was honorable that Kirk took my solos and did his best to play them as I did. That couldn't have been easy. But as far as his new solos on the new Metallica album, I haven't heard them, so I can't comment. But I will say that I think it's sad how quickly some people can turn on people."
He goes on to mention, "There was a time when Kirk won every guitar contest in the world, and I don't think he's gotten any better or worse as a player. He's always been really good. Kirk was a good player when he was in Exodus. And he's been steady the entire time he's been in Metallica. But does that mean Kirk Hammett is Dave Mustaine? No. And is Dave Mustaine Kirk Hammett? Also, no."
Dave Mustaine's 2022 Comments to Joe Rogan About Metallica Using His Material
Leading up to the release of Megadeth's latest album, last year's The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!, Mustaine was a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
He regaled the host with stories from his youth about two hexes he put on people and lightly touched on his time in Metallica, lamenting the band's use of material he wrote after his exit.
"The thing that bothered me the most was I had all my music, and I left it behind and I said, 'Don't use my music.' And of course they did. They used it on the first record, on the second record [1984's Ride The Lightning]. There's parts of my music on a song on the third record [1986's Master Of Puppets]. All the solos on the first record are mine, except that they're just performed by Kirk. And [they're] close but not the same."
"And he's not a bad guitar player," Mustaine said of Hammett during that interview.