On Sept. 25, iconic Metallica axeman Kirk Hammett released his first book, 'Too Much Horror Business,' which chronicles his massive horror movie memorabilia collection. In it, fans get a sneak peek at all of the goodies Hammett has been collecting since he was a child, laid out by decade beginning with the 1920s.
The book not only allows readers to gawk at gorgeous photos of movie posters, costumes, toys, props and other collectibles, but it also offers an in-depth dialogue between Hammett and Steffan Chirazi, editor of 'So What!,' the official magazine of the Metallica Club. Just minutes after finding out Metallica will be headlining New Orleans' Voodoo Music + Arts Experience on Oct. 27, we had the chance to sit down with Hammett and chat about all things horror.
In promoting your book, you've often talked about how you saw your first horror movie, 'The Day of the Triffids,' when you were 5 years old. It seems like horror movies speak to something inside all of us, even to the 5-year-old Kirk. Why do you think horror movies appeal to nearly everyone?
They're just fun. They're a fun experience. It's not unlike a roller coaster ride, you know? A good horror movie should have peaks and valleys, a good horror movie should move you emotionally, a good horror movie should be exciting to watch and energizing in a weird kind of way. Those are all sensations that everyone loves, or I would think everyone loves. Horror movies deliver that. I've always been attracted to the darker things in life. I was never one to go for light, airy stuff, even as a child. My whole aesthetic has always been one of the darker side. That rings true also in my tastes in music. It's just always something I've gravitated to naturally.
You've also been sharing some insight on your favorite collectibles, including two outfits worn by Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Moving from your own collection and looking just at the genre of horror, what are some of your favorite movies?
That's a hard one for me and I always give a different answer every time. I have a lot of favorites. Right off the bat, I love the original 'Mummy' movie from 1932. I love this movie from 1935 called 'Mad Love.' Jumping up into the '70s, there was this low-budget movie called 'Dracula vs. Frankenstein' that I just love to death. To me, it's just endless. I think about certain movies and I think, "Oh, that's my favorite." Then I think about others and I say, "No, that's my favorite." It's so difficult for me.
When we heard your the title of your book, we immediately thought, "Too much horror business? That's a lyric from the Misfits!" Before you made the book, did you reach out to any members of the band about the title?
I told Glenn [Danzig] that I was making this book when I saw him last December. He seemed alright with it. I think by now if he wasn't alright with it I would've heard something. When I first heard that title, 'Too Much Horror Business,' I thought, "Wow, what a great title. If I ever do a book, that's going to be the title." And then, well, here we are.
You could have made this a standard photo book, but there is a lengthy conversation between you and Steffan Chirazi featured throughout. Why did you decide to include the dialogue between the two of you?
It was important for me to be able to interject some of my own personality into the book, to bring it to a different place. I didn't want it to be a stock coffee table art book, I didn't want it to be a reference book, I didn't want it to look like an auction catalog, which a lot of art books end up looking like, at least to me. It was important to me to interject some of my own personality and some of my own humor and my own opinion on this stuff. How and why I'm into all this stuff. It was a way for me to make it more my book than just another coffee table book.
'Too Much Horror Business' is available for order from Abrams Books. And don't worry, metalheads, we also talked to Kirk Hammett about all things Metallica. Stay tuned for our exclusive news items in which the guitarist offers the latest on the band's next album and more.