Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has revealed that he lost hundreds of riff ideas for the band’s next album when he lost his phone late last year.
“I put riffs on my iPhone, but something very unfortunate happened to me about six months ago,” Hammett tells The Jasta Show podcast hosted by Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta (audio below). “I lost my iPhone containing two hundred and fifty musical ideas. And I was crushed. It didn't get backed up. And when it happened, I was bummed out for about two or three days. I walked into the house. My wife saw me and she said, 'Uh-oh, what's wrong? Did you get a phone call from a relative?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'What's going on?' I told her, and she understood.”
"I just plain lost it,” he continues. “I can't find it. I'm still looking for it to this day. I just set it somewhere and… It still might turn up. I'm hoping it will. To try to remember those riffs…? I can only remember, like, eight of 'em. So I just chalked it down to maybe it just wasn't meant to be and I'll just move forward with it.”
Hammett says he uses the phone to capture ideas whenever inspiration strikes.
"For me, music comes at all times of the day. When I get a riff, sometimes it's a complete riff and I can just play it and there it is, sometimes it's half a riff and I have to tweak it. Sometimes it's just a rhythm or a note selection. Or sometimes it's just something that I hum in my head. But it can come from anywhere, and I put it on my phone, and I make sure the phone is backed up.
"All you musicians out there who use your phone, make sure it's backed up. Right?!”
The guitarist explains how he and the group take the riff sketches and work to develop them into a full song.
"We get together and we jam out,” says Hammett. “And, you know, one riff leads to another riff, which leads to another, and, all of a sudden, you have somewhat of a skeleton of an arrangement, and you just jam on it and pound it out, talk about it — talk about what you would like to hear, where you would like to see it go.
“I mean, there's so many possibilities that you can do with it. For us, it's more so what we choose not to do with a piece of music, because there's so much you can do with it. We just wanna do the right thing with the music, the right approach and the right arrangement to any sort of riff or chord progression or melody."
Metallica are currently in the studio working on the follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic.”
The band will team up with Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants for the 3rd annual Metallica Night at AT&T Park on Saturday, May 2 before returning to live action on May 9 when they headline at the inaugural Rock In Rio USA festival in Las Vegas.
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