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Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Pens Tribute to David Bowie

Christopher Polk / Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images
Christopher Polk / Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

It’s been a difficult period for many music fans with the losses of several influential musicians over a short span. No sooner had Metallica‘s members spilled out their feelings on the loss of Lemmy Kilmister then David Bowie passed. While tributes have flowed in on Bowie, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett took some time to collect his thoughts, then offered a tribute to the iconic musician via his Fear Fest Evil website.

Hammett begins his post expressing his introduction to Bowie’s music, calling out the song “Fame” and stating that it sounded like nothing else on radio. But being a film junkie as well, after learning of Bowie’s music he was intrigued to see him on the big screen in a movie called The Man Who Fell to Earth.

“I was way into science-fiction! So I thought, ‘Wow, that looks interesting.’ I remember watching it and getting a little disoriented, a little confused, and thinking that maybe that movie was a little bit too sophisticated for my adolescent brain! But at the same time the images were very haunting, the image of Bowie as an alien was exactly as I had seen him in my mind, something completely different and from another dimension and other-worldly,” recalled Hammett.

He adds, “The movie touched on other things like xenophobia, the inability to acclimate to other cultures and it even touched on climate change because his native planet was dying. And over the years I thought about it a lot; my inability to cope with where I came from, where I was and where I was going. And as an adult I found myself interpreting the movie in a way my younger self had not been able to. I think we’ve all found ourselves there, and looking back I wonder if Bowie was always there in a creative sense himself? Perhaps that’s why he was always seen to be moving, always changing, and my thought is that maybe those were questions that lingered in his mind as well.”

Hammett says he did meet Bowie at one point. He recalled one point of crossing paths with Bowie in Kansas City when they were both on tour. “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,” said Hammett, but he was surprised when their tour manager sorted it out. The guitarist admits to having a “fanboy” moment with Bowie and enjoying their time together before parting ways. However, he soon realized that after having the discussion he’d have a hard time finding a ride back to the hotel and competing with everyone else leaving the venue.

“I remember being so flustered and disappointed with myself that I just sat on the curb with my head in my hands, staring at the ground,” stated Hammett. “I didn’t see this tour bus glide out of the backstage gates, but all of a sudden it’s pulled up, right in front of me, and the door has opened. I see David Bowie’s tour manager. He said, ‘Aren’t you staying in the same hotel as us? Looks like you need a ride! David wanted me to ask if you wanna catch a ride with us?’” Once again, he and Robert Trujillo were in the presence of Bowie and sharing all sorts of stories.

In the posting, Hammett goes on to praise Bowie’s work in The Hunger as one of his favorite vampire movies and he also expresses his appreciation for Bowie’s new album, Blackstar, calling it a “brilliant, brilliant final message.” “It’s incredible and I’m totally blown away. I hope to leave as artistically as he did,” says Hammett.

He concludes by stating, “Thank God David Bowie walked the earth and thank God we were able to experience what he had to give.” Read his full posting here.

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