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METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett says that he is using the coronavirus downtime to work on new riffs. A number of artists have seen their concert dates drop off as they're either canceled or postponed in the wake of the global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. On Friday (March 20), Hammett took to his Instagram to write: "Things are most definitely not business-as-usual, but I’m good, staying safe, working on riffs ... hope you are all okay out there as well" Last summer, Hammett said that he had already accumulated "a lot" of "kick-ass, great" ideas for METALLICA's next album. The METALLICA axeman famously lost his iPhone containing hundreds of riffs in 2014. About six months later, he told "The Jasta Show" podcast that he "was crushed" when it happened, but still expressed hope that it "might turn up." In an interview with the Toronto musical instrument superstore Cosmo Music, Hammett said he is already thinking ahead to METALLICA's follow-up to 2016's "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" LP. "I have a lot of stuff written that I've put aside for the band — a lot of stuff," he said. "Because last album, I didn't have any stuff, 'cause I lost most of my ideas when I lost my phone — over 500 musical ideas… It took me a long time to recover from that. And I got it into my head I had to produce twice as much — basically, I overcompensated. So, as it stands, as we speak, I have a lot of material — really kick-ass, great material — that I just can't wait to show the other guys and turn into some music, record, get the album out and have more kick-ass metal." Hammett is not credited on any of the songs on "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct". METALLICA frontman James Hetfield told Metal XS in 2016 that "Kirk's riffs weren't there" when it was time to write the music for the follow-up to 2008's "Death Magnetic" record. He later seemed to dismiss Kirk's missing-iPhone excuse, telling the WRIF radio station: "That's what he claims. I'm sure he did [lose the phone], but it doesn't make sense that he wouldn't have [the music] on his computer, either. But, whatever… Yeah, Kirk had some riffs that he… I guess submitted — ['submit' is] not a very nice word to be used if you're in a band. But you know, we all submit our tapes, and we sit there and we listen to them and we pick the best stuff. There was not much stuff from Kirk. Whether his phone was lost, or whatever…" Hetfield told U.K. radio station Planet Rock that Kirk "was not present in the studio" while METALLICA was working on "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct". "He was dealing with life," James said. "He had a lot of life things going on for himself, which he'll choose to talk about if he wants. But, you know, [it was] Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] and I steering the ship as usual, going through the riffs, creating the songs. And I got to do a lot of guitar stuff that I was missing around 'Death Magnetic' and 'St. Anger' — some of the harmony guitar things, harmony vocals… You know, a little more layering, like the 'Black' album." Hammett previously said that losing his phone was a "devastating" experience. In September 2016, the guitarist spoke to Seattle's KISW 99.9 radio station about how the incident affected the making of the latest record. He said: "Let's just say that I had to start at zero again while everyone else [in the band] had material for songs. By the time I got a few ideas flowing and kind of formed, most of the songs were already written. I had to think to myself, 'Okay, I have stuff, but it looks like it's gonna probably make it on to the next album.'" Despite the setback, Hammett said that he was pleased with how "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" turned out. "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album chart, selling 291,000 copies in its first week of release.
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