In Rolling Stone’s latest Artist on Artist interview, St Vincent sat down with Kirk Hammet to talk about band politics, musical catharsis and more. The interview was a notable moment for St Vincent, who gave up learning the violin to play Metallica riffs on a guitar.
In her own words, “the violin fucking stinks.” Apologies, violinists, but it was St Vincent’s switch to guitar to learn Metallica riffs that gave us her engaging art-rock records like 2017’s MASSEDUCTION and 2011’s Strange Mercy. It also gave us one of the most interesting signature guitars we’ve seen in a while. Given it has seen various colours and pickup configurations, the Music Man St Vincent eschews a lot of the trappings of a traditional ‘signature’ guitar – and isn’t just a way to look and sound like its namesake.
Kirk Hammet’s influence can be felt across countless musical genres. Having played on such heavy-metal-top-album-list stalwarts such as Master Of Puppets and The Black Album, there’s probably no counting how many guitarists were inspired by his playing. He’s also seen a fair number of signature axes, most recently the Ouija Sparkle from ESP.
While the two might seem worlds apart musically (especially if you listen to Slow Disco right after Battery) they definitely share musical sensibilities. Both talked about expressing rage through music, and share a love for Adam Jones and Jimi Hendrix, as well as avant-garde player Marc Ribot.
The pair also discussed having to “kill your darlings” on a record, St Vincent saying “in order for this song to survive, a couple of people have to hop off the boat. You have to sacrifice a couple of ideas in order to make something cohesive. I have a hard time with that.”
Hammett also noted that not all of his skills on a six-string make it onto Metallica albums: “I can play a lot of different stuff. I’ll play some jazz, bossa nova, blues, gypsy jazz, fucking Eastern European ballads. I play all that stuff. But no one knows I can play this stuff”.