Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett feels he got his “brain back” when he quit drinking in 2014. The musician feels the lack of drink has energised him, and he no longer feels 59 years old. The guitarist gave an answer to Kerrang, who highlighted the fact that he was promoting a solo EP, Portals, despite forbidding bassist Jason Newsted from pursuing solo projects in 2001.
“We’ve all grown up, basically,” Hammett said. “So the question is, Were we not grown up back then? Of course not. We’ll be the first ones – or at least I will – to put my hands up and say I only feel like I’ve reached maturity in the last 10 fucking years. Also, I have to say I’ve been sober for seven and a half years now, and my mind is in a different place. I’m better focused. I got my brain back, I’ve gotten my memory back. So nowadays I’m in a better place.”
The guitarist claims that he found more time for himself when he sobered up, stating that he had previously spent whole days, weeks in nightclubs. Removing alcohol from his life gave him the chance to explore more avenues in his life. As is evident from the interview, Hammett has shown some regret towards the way he treated Newsted.
Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo took Newsted’s place in Metallica and has remained there ever since. Ironically, Newsted wound up talking Trujillo’s place in Osbourne’s touring band for a period, leading the former Black Sabbath singer to joke that it wasn’t a fair exchange, but robbery.
Hammett joined Metallica in 1983, replacing Dave Mustaine.
Although devastated by his bandmates’ decision to replace him, Mustaine used this anger to find Megadeth, a heavy metal band Mustaine sings for. Bassist David Ellefson was the band’s second longest-standing musician, but Ellefson left Megadeth in 2021 after snippets of his personal life were published online. Mustaine claims their relationship was already strained, but the answer remained that the two could not continue to collaborate in the future. Mustaine has hired a new bassist to play bass on the forthcoming Megadeth album.