In the latest issue of U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett was asked if it's strange to him how much METALLICA has eclipsed the other "Big Four" bands of 1980s thrash metal — SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — in terms of commercial popularity.
"I try not to spend too much time thinking about stuff like that because whatever I think of is still not going to be a satisfying enough explanation," he replied. "It's just the way things are and how the chips fell.
"EXODUS [Kirk's former band and the group many think should included if the 'Big Four' were expanded and considered the 'Big Five'] in the '80s had some bona fide problems, but I think their first album [1985's 'Bonded By Blood'] is just as good as [METALLICA's debut] 'Kill 'Em All'. We were just playing the music we wanted to hear because no one else was playing it and it wasn't being played on the radio. It was only a small group of people who knew about it and it was almost elitist in that 'No posers allowed!' thing."
MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine last year spoke to Radio.com about which band should have been included if the "Big Four" were expanded and considered the "Big Five". Mustaine said: "You know, people will say there's a whole another generation, like the 'Medium Four' [laughs], and I think there's a lot of great bands that fit that bill, too. But I think probably EXODUS, because there was nobody else at the time that had that kind of pull or that kind of importance in the metal community. Granted, it was with [late EXODUS singer Paul] Baloff, and Baloff had a voice that you had to have an acquired taste for, but you know, I liked him."
In a 2010 interview with Metal Asylum, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked if he feels the "Big Four" should have been expanded and considered the "Big Seven", including EXODUS, TESTAMENT and OVERKILL.
"Well, I think it should be the 'Big Five' with EXODUS, because we were there at the start of thrash metal with METALLICA in the real early '80s," he said. "Same thing with MEGADETH because [Dave] Mustaine was a part of METALLICA's birth and he also created MEGADETH. And SLAYER are SLAYER. ANTHRAX are also great and old friends, but if you listen to those first few records, they have definitely changed. TESTAMENT has every right to be part of the thrash metal legends, but it just came down to timing because they came later. And OVERKILL have been their since the beginning also. But I don't get hung up on that shit, because I know how it all started and I know where I was when the shit got created. We [EXODUS] certainly deserve to be part of the founding fathers, but you know who often gets excluded are the Germans — KREATOR, DESTRUCTION and SODOM. Everybody looks to America and forgets those guys. KREATOR, DESTRUCTION and SODOM all released records in the early '80s."
He continued: "Really, the "Big Four" is solely based on sales and the ones who sold the most. But if you compare records, I will put EXODUS' last few albums up against anybody's shit. SLAYER is always awesome; the last TESTAMENT album [at the time of the interview], 'The Formation of Damnation', was great; the new MEGADETH [2009's 'Endgame'] is one of their best; METALLICA are still finding their feet again, and their last album, 'Death Magnetic', was a step in the right direction. The new OVERKILL, 'Ironbound', is one of their best records ever; it's so good. And KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, and SODOM still make great new music. What I think it boils down to is the bands who've been doing this the longest still can do it the best. METALLICA are still a mighty force live, but they lost their way for quite a while. But then again I've never had to deal with the horrible problem of having millions of dollars. [Laughs] Maybe if I had that kind of money, it would distract my hunger for doing this kind of shit, too. But, unfortunately for me, I have to keep kickin' people in the teeth, I don't have the funds to go art-shopping. My version of fine art is a new edition of Hustler magazine. [Laughs]"
Lifelong horror enthusiast and METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett joined his former band EXODUS on stage last night (Friday, February 7) at his first annual horror convention, dubbed Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEviL, at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California to perform the EXODUS song "Piranha" and the BLUE ÖYSTER CULT classic "Godzilla". Video footage of the performance can be seen below (courtesy of AndrewHaug.com).
Hammett was a member of EXODUS' original lineup before replacing Dave Mustaine in METALLICA in 1983. In fact, Hammett was not only the person who came up with the EXODUS name, but also the first from the band to meet original EXODUS singer Paul Baloff and brought him into the group.
Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEvil kicked off on Thursday (February 6) and lasts through Saturday (February 8), and Hammett told The Pulse Of Radio what he envisioned for it. "I've gone to San Diego Comic-Con, and I was just struck by how all it really is is a bunch of stuff to look at and a bunch of stuff to buy," he said. "What I wanted to do with my convention is I wanted it to be an experience, you know. I wanted it to be interactive, I wanted it to have ambiance and atmosphere, and I wanted it to be unique and thrilling, and that's what we're trying to do here."
Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEviL will include additional musical performances by Nuclear Blast artists CARCASS, DEATH ANGEL and ORCHID.
Hammett's relationship with DEATH ANGEL goes back more than two decades, when the METALLICA guitarist produced DEATH ANGEL's 1986 demo, "Kill As One".
Visit www.FEARFESTEviL.com for the latest information on horror's newest and coolest fan convention.