Hammett Talks About Metallica's Busy Hiatus

Metallica join list of performers for VH1 Awards

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While still asserting that they're on hiatus, Metallica will perform live at the VH1 My Music Awards at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium on Nov. 30. The San Francisco metalmen are nominated for Most Entertaining Public Feud (for their battle with Napster), Group of the Year, Gods of Thunder and Best Stage Spectacle.

"This is supposed to be our year off, but it's been filled with so many obligations and events that have nothing to do with the rigors of touring and recording cycle," says guitarist Kirk Hammett of the band's harried break. "And so, every two or three weeks there's something going on, we have to fly somewhere and be interviewed for this or that, or shoot something for this or that, and it's just been crazy."

Hammett also cast a little light on when Metallica will begin their next album. "Probably some time next year, when we feel like getting back in one room together and fighting it out," Hammett says. "Maybe 'fighting' is too harsh a word. Whenever we go into the studio, it's like preparing yourself for battle. We're battling each other, we're battling the music, we're battling [producer] Bob Rock, we're battling the world. You have to put your armor on and be prepared to take blows from all sides."

The guitarist revealed that we might see at least one Hammett-penned composition on the next Metallica album. "The faith that those guys have in me is stronger than it's ever been," he says. "Frankly, I'm just really excited. I know James has a lot of strong material, and I know that I have a lot of strong material. I'm actually looking forward to going back in the studio."

Hammett also says that their collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony (on the live S&M album) was inspirational. "The symphonic thing really opened up things for us. It was one of the greatest musical experiences I've ever had. Lars says when he watched the video every time the camera was on me, I had this big shit-eating grin . . . I loved it."