34 Years Ago, Kirk Hammett Thought His Metallica Audition Was An April Fool's Joke

April 3, 2017

When Kirk Hammett first got the call from Exodus' manager Mark Whitaker asking him if he were interested in auditioning for Metallica on April 1st, 1983, he thought it was nothing more than an April Fool's prank and hung up on him. A second phone call from Whitaker proved that he wasn't kidding, saying that Metallica's manager Jonny Z was intent on having him audition for the band.

Confused, Hammett asked why Metallica would want him to replace Dave Mustaine. Whitaker responded by saying, "He f**king sucks, man," according to the Metallica biography Birth School Metallica Death, Vol. 1. "His tone sucks, his playing... He's a f**king drunk."

Whitaker informed Hammett that he would be sending him demos of Metallica's No Life 'Til Leather overnight so that he would learn the songs. Rather than waiting for the demos to arrive in the mail, Hammett called up a few contacts of individuals that trade tapes and managed to get his hands on the demos himself. By midnight on April 2nd, Hammett says that he had already learned half of the songs on the demos.

Guitarist Gary Holt of Exodus at first was taken by surprise by the news of Hammett's audition. Hammett taught Holt how to play the guitar and how to write songs, not to mention that Exodus was fueled by Hammett. If he were to leave, Holt would take the lead on the band's direction in his place. "I wanted to band to be much faster," said Holt. "I wanted the songs to be heavier and nastier, so when Kirk left it let me do what I wanted, which was cool."

Before leaving for his audition, Hammett's Exodus bandmates threw a celebration in classic rock star style: holding a huge going-away party and getting absolutely demolished. Holt and vocalist Paul Baloff then pranked Hammett by cutting out Hammett's face from Exodus promos and placed them all over the Waldorf Club. "Kirk ran all over the place trying to pull down these pictures," said Holt. "He ran into the girl's bathroom and pulled them out of the s**tters. I don't know why he seemed so frantic but it was really funny."

One week later, Hammett hopped on a flight to Newark, NJ where he nailed his audition with Metallica. There was only one thing left to do... tell Dave Mustaine that he was out of the band.

(source: Loudwire)