Kirk: “I put riffs on my iPhone, but something very unfortunate happened to me about six months ago. 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 lost [the phone]. I just plain lost it. 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.
“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 fucking backed up.
“All you musicians out there who use your phone, make sure it’s backed up. Right?!
“And, you know, we get together and we jam [the ideas] out. 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.”
On what the new METALLICA material is sounding like:
Kirk: “Let’s just say that the stuff that’s coming up is super riffy, super heavy… We’ve developed a vocabulary of how we express ourselves through riffs and technique, and let’s just say that that vocabulary is well versed. I would say, you know, it’s a lot similar to [2008’s] ‘Death Magnetic’ but different in certain parts. James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] is doing a lot of really, really cool melody stuff these days, a lot of vocal layers. [Last year’s song] ‘Lords Of Summer’ is a good example of that, the beginning. And we’re just jamming the stuff out. But, yeah, I can say if there’s any album that I can compare the stuff that we’re working on to, I would say it’s a lot like ‘Death Magnetic’. And, you know, okay, there’s a couple of songs that remind me of something on [1988’s] ‘…And Justice For All’, but the album doesn’t sound like ‘…And Justice For All’.”
On whether he pays attention to the negative feedback on the Internet that METALLICAconstantly gets:
Kirk: “I don’t really think about any of that shit. People have their opinions, and they have every right to their opinions. I know that if I read too much negativity, I get bogged down in it. And it’s just healthier and safer for me to not even put those thoughts in my head. I do what I set out to do and what my goals are. And that’s what I stick to. I just go out there and do the best I possibly can. If people love it, great. If people hate it, that’s their choice. I can’t do anything about it. I can only do the best I possibly can, and that’s been our attitude, collectively, forever. And, for me, it’s the only way to really stay sane in this business. ‘Cause if you start chasing what the haters are hating on and what the fans are loving, you’re gonna drive yourself nuts. We just try to do the best that we can, and try not to worry too much about what everyone else has to say. I mean, it’s just like back in the day, before social media, we’d get a lot of great record reviews and we’d get some shitty ones. Which ones do you believe? I don’t believe any of ’em. I just know in my heart where I stand on any particular piece of work and I hold on to that.”
On whether he has heard the AVENGED SEVENFOLD song “This Means War”, which bears a strong resemblance to METALLICA‘s “Sad But True”:
Kirk: “When it comes to influences and inspiration and anything else, I can’t really say anything, ’cause I’ll admit, there’s been riffs that I’ve heard where I was, like, ‘I’m getting me a riff like that.’ Or I hear guitar solos and I’m, like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna steal that lick and put it in this guitar solo and I hope no one notices.’ It happens a lot more with… Musicians do it a lot more, I think, than what the public is aware of. It’s when musicians call out other musicians on it, it kind of makes me uncomfortable. I mean, music has a long-standing tradition of recyclining itself. If you look at certain genres, like the blues, it’s the three fucking same fucking notes in every fucking song. If you listen to rap music, it’s the same beat.”