Kirk Hammett explains how ‘Toxic Masculinity’ + ‘Macho Bulls–t’ fueled Metallica

In a new interview, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett explained how “toxic masculinity” and, in his own words, “weird masculine macho bullshit” have helped fuel Metallica’s enduring heavy metal flame.

Talking to The New Yorkerthe longtime Metallica member expressed how the male behavior often seen as harmful to society seemed to help glue Metallica together.

Is “toxic masculinity” why Hammett has stayed with Metallica’s founding members, guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, since 1983? It’s probably a stretch, but the lead guitarist can still understand how some dubious machismo drove Metallica.

“Toxic masculinity has fueled this band,” Hammett stated in the piece, which appeared Monday (Nov. 28), the same day Metallica revealed their upcoming album, 72 Seasonsand shared his first single, “Lux Aeterna.”

He illustrated: “I’m still sitting there going, ‘OK, I’m going to write a really, really hard, kick-ass riff. Just look at my rhetoric there: hard, kick-ass riff. It’s an aggression that everyone feels, but it was trashed into us – this weird masculine macho bullshit thing.”

Looking back over all the years Metallica members have spent together, Hammett can actually point to where that kind of thinking led to early spats within the group.

“We’d get drunk and just start in,” the guitarist recalled. “I remember one time James got up and pushed Lars and Lars literally flew across the room. We saw each other and started wrestling. We could be in a room with 20 people and we were fixated on each other. No one else mattered something.”

Perhaps the “toxic masculinity” of Metallica extended to the band’s business dealings. Looking back at the act’s early 2000s battle with Napsterrecalled Ulrich Metallica’s reactionary positioning at the dawn of peer-to-peer Internet file-sharing services.

And although the drummer said that now he “does not console” himself how it all happenedhe still described it as a “street fight”.

“It was, ‘You fuck us, we’ll fuck you,'” Ulrich said. “And then it just ran amok. In retrospect, could we have done a better job of seeing it coming? Probably.”

Metallica’s 72 Seasons arriving on April 14, 2023. The band will tour the world again around the same time. Get Metallica concert tickets here.

Watch Metallica’s “Lux Æterna” music video below.

Metallica, “Lux Æterna” (music video)

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