Metallica's Kirk Hammett Pens Appreciation for David Bowie

Guitarist writes about hitching a ride on Bowie's tour bus following a Kansas City concert

Metallica's Kirk Hammett has penned a long appreciation of David Bowie, with the guitarist writing at length about his chance meeting with the singer Credit: Michael Ochs Archives

Metallica's Kirk Hammett has penned a long appreciation for David Bowie, with the guitarist writing at length about how Changesonebowie impacted him, how Metallica listened to Ziggy Stardust non-stop during an early tour and the time Hammett met a gracious Bowie backstage at one of the late singer's concerts. "David Bowie dying is such a bummer, and I want to acknowledge what a huge influence he was on me," Hammett wrote on his FearFestEvil page

"I bought a handful of albums growing up which I can say heavily influenced me, and one of those was Changesonebowie, which came out in 1976," the guitarist continued. "When I first heard the song 'Fame' on the radio, it sounded like nothing else out there. 'Golden Years' and 'Fame' were two very distinctly different songs. I was raised on AM radio, which was brilliant back then, Motown, Stones, Beatles and all that Bay Area funk stuff, and listening to it in the late '60s and early '70s in San Francisco was a really rich thing. And Bowie was just so different, and after hearing 'Fame' I had to get Changesonebowie."

Hammett also wrote about meeting Bowie backstage at one of the singer's concert. Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo had an off-night in Kansas City during a Metallica tour and decided to check out Bowie's concert; the band's one-time tour manager Ian Jeffrey was in charge of the Bowie trek and facilitated a backstage meet-up.

"I had no expectation of meeting David because I'd heard he was very private and liked to lie low after the show, I don’t blame him, that’s what we do," Hammett wrote. "We were just leaving and Ian said, ‘no no wait, David wants to say hi.' He'd only been offstage for 15 minutes, we usually take at least 45 minutes before we can get our girdles off and take our vitamins! He came out, wearing sweats and a t-shirt, and said 'hi how ya doing Kirk, hi Rob!' I couldn't believe it! And then all the fanboy stuff came out, how he’d been an inspiration, blah blah blah. He said he'd known about us for a long time, liked our music and told us to carry on!"

Later on, Hammett and Trujillo were stranded outside the venue when Bowie had his tour bus driver ask the Metallica duo if they needed a lift back to their hotel. "We go up the steps, turn into the lounge and there's David with a huge grin on his face saying 'sit down sit down. Rob and I sat down, once again the fan boy stuff came out," Hammett wrote. 

"I cannot remember all the details but we did talk about stuff like music and his love for the Dandy Warhols, I also remember apologizing to him, saying 'sorry David for nicking the title 'Leper Messiah' and he was laughing. Cliff [Burton] and I listened to Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars daily on the ’85 Ride The Lightning US tour, so yes, I lifted the title from the title track of that album."

Hammett, a devoted horror movie fan, praised Bowie's The Hunger as "one of the great vampire films" and also gushed about The Man Who Fell to Earth.

"I think Bowie's final album Blackstar is a brilliant, brilliant final message. He managed to invite us all, and I think it's the first time that someone has creatively involved their passing as an integral part of their final work," he added. "Thank God David Bowie walked the earth and thank God we were able to experience what he had to give."