Kirk Hammett says he doesn’t enjoy playing the guitar solo on Metallica’s classic track “Master of Puppets” live, even after doing it for nearly 40 years. But he’s learned from the mistake he made in the ‘80s, and taken steps to avoid getting into the same bind with newer songs.

“What I’m going to say people are probably gonna hate, but it drives me nuts having to play that fucking guitar solo in ‘Master of Puppets’ every time,” Hammett tells Total Guitar. “People love that guitar solo and they come to see that. That’s fine. For that part of our career, all those solos are locked in. I don’t view them as solos anymore; they’re parts. I’m freaking bored of it, but it’s exciting for people to hear.”

He clarified that he isn’t unhappy with the solo he laid down in the studio, but he was “bored of playing the same thing all the time. I’m inviting all sorts of criticism and opinions but I don’t fucking care. It’s like the solo on ‘Fade to Black.’ I play the first eight bars and then I go on a tangent for like 20, 24 bars and then come back in the last four bars and play parts that everyone knows. That’s one of my most favorite parts of playing that song live. … I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna play.”

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That experience informed Hammett’s approach to the upcoming 72 Seasons: “With this album, I went in intentionally to improvise 20, 30 solos, give them all to Lars and [producer] Greg [Fidelman], and go, ‘You guys edit them!’ I know I’m gonna play something completely different live.”

Hammett added: “That’s my thing these days and if people don’t like it, that’s just tough. But I can offer something a lot different than what people hear on the album, and I can offer something different every time you see Metallica. When you buy a ticket to a Metallica show, you’re gonna hear different versions of the songs. You’re not gonna hear carbon-copy versions of the album.”

He confirms that a certain risk came with his approach to making solos up on stage. “Usually, I surprise myself; sometimes I die a fucking death,” Hammett said. “It’s horrible to die on stage in front of 50,000 people, but it only lasts an instant and then it’s gone. Then I can go on to other pastures and make up for what I didn’t do.”

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