Kirk Hammett recalls high school bullying experience – and how music saved him from “pretty bad path” in life
Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has discussed his memories of being bullied at school, and of how discovering music saved him from following a “pretty bad path” in life.
He grew up in El Sobrante, California, and attended De Anza High School in Richmond, and after years of being interested in horror movies, he started playing guitar seriously at the age of 15.
Hammett tells 107.7 The Bone (via Blabbermouth) that he and his friends were troubled by “neighbourhood hoodlums,” adding: “They picked anyone who was an easy target who looked different from them.
“They were people with very low IQs that had nothing better to do with their time, except picking and bullying on other people.
“They used to terrify us all the time. Then we go to the other side of town, and there were the Mexican gangs we had to constantly worry about as well. We’d just try and not go anywhere near those guys.”
The events took place around the time he began playing guitar. “It was one of the only things I found that could calm me down when I was a kid,” he says.
“I was able to use it to ground myself and more in the moment. If I didn’t have music… who knows? I was on a pretty bad path when I discovered music. Music kept be from going further down that path.”
Last year Hammett explained how his interest in music had helped him through his teenage years, adding: “Heavy metal solved a lot of my problems when I couldn’t express myself and I was just frustrated. I would go to my room and put on a metal album and feel instant relief. When someone tries to take that away from you, you’re like, ‘No, I need that for my own survival.'”
Metallica recently completed their first large-scale US tour in eight years. They return to Europe next month, with UK dates to follow in October