Metallica's Kirk Hammett on Sandman Inspiration and UFO

(Gibson) It's been nearly 30 years since Kirk Hammett received that fateful call asking him to audition for the lead guitar role in Metallica. Since then, Hammett's meteoric rise to stardom has seen fans unearth just about every detail behind his six-string prowess. Still, we managed to uncover a few facts that might be unknown to all but the most ardent followers. For starters, just so's you know, he's a huge fan of country great Hank Williams.

The inspiration behind the "Enter Sandman" riff was Soundgarden. Hammett's most famous riff might never have occurred had he not been a fan of Soundgarden. In a 2008 interview with Rolling Stone, he explained: "Soundgarden had just put out Louder Than Love. I was trying to capture their attitude toward big, heavy riffs. It was two o'clock in the morning. I put it on tape and didn't think about it. When [drummer] Lars [Ulrich] heard the riff, he said, 'That's really great. But repeat the first part four times.' It was that suggestion that made it even more hooky."

His all-time favorite band is UFO. Hammett once told writer David Fricke that "the second he heard" guitarist Michael Schenker on UFO's "Mother, Mary," his whole attitude toward his instrument changed. "Schenker wasn't playing blues-based solos," Hammett observed. "He was playing modes - scales that sounded almost classical - and rhythmically he was out the door. To this day, UFO are my favorite band in the whole world." 8 more things you might know about Kirk is an official news provider for the Day in Rock.

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