What was that riff from Kirk Hammett?
Well, I was able to catch Metallica’s show at Newark’s Prudential Center on Feb. 1, the last show of their North American tour behind their most recent release, Death Magnetic. As one rock blogger put it, Metallica is clearly now a legacy band, and, despite six cuts from the new release, this was largely a “best of” show. And an amazing show at that. These guys haven’t lost a step.
But what about that Hammett riff? During his second solo at the Prudential show – and as he’s been doing on this tour – Hammett launched into a long-forgotten riff from German guitar wiz Uli Jon Roth, from the Scorpion’s 1979 album Taken by Force. It’s from a song called Sails of Charon. Here’s Roth playing it in 2006:
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I’m always intrigued by musical influences, and I love when rockers pay homage to theirs. So, it’s to Hammett’s credit that he incorporated that riff into his solo, because it highlights the notion that rock is, after all, an ongoing tribute to those that came before you. I’ve also read where Hammett was influenced as a young man by Mad Axeman Michael Schenker, who preceded Roth in the Scorpions. (I asked Schenker about this during my recent interview with him.) The beauty of it is that Hammett forged his own style, even while he pays tribute to his early influences.
And that’s how it’s supposed to work.How cool is that?