Kirk Hammett ‘Bored’ of Playing ‘Master of Puppets’ Solo, Loves Live Improvisation
Metallica's "Master of Puppets" is a classic, and you expect to hear it a certain way. But that doesn't mean that after 37 years that guitarist Kirk Hammett hasn't tired of playing the song's revered guitar solo. The guitarist expressed as much during an upcoming Total Guitar interview, while revealing that the spirit of improvisation is what's exciting him these days on the concert stage.
Hammett revealed to Total Guitar (in the upcoming April 6 issue as shared by Guitar World), “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. 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."
The musician then paused, before clarifying his comments, explaining, “You know, I’m not bored of the solo; I just get bored of playing the same thing all the time.”
“I’m inviting all sorts of criticism and opinions but I don’t fucking care,” he adds. “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.”
Metallica, "Master of Puppets" (Live)
READ MORE: 15 Greatest Guitar Solos of All-Time
In fact, the love for improvisation is a big part of how Hammett approaches music now.
“I know I’m gonna play something completely different live. That’s my thing these days and if people don’t like it, that’s just tough. But I can offer something a lot different than what people hear on the album, and I can offer something different every time you see Metallica," he explains. “When you buy a ticket to a Metallica show you’re gonna hear different versions of the songs. You’re not gonna hear carbon copy versions of the album.”
That said, Hammett reveals that the "in the moment" approach doesn't always turn out well. “Usually, I surprise myself; sometimes I die a fucking death,” he says. “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.”
You'll have a chance to see Kirk Hammett embracing his improvisational skills and delivering iconic guitar solos during Metallica's 2023-2024 tour. Get your tickets to catch the band live here. They might even perform the new 72 Seasons title track that was released earlier this morning (March 30).