Metallica's Kirk Hammett recently participated in an interview for Metal Mayhem ROC, a celebration of the 40th anniversary of their iconic album Kill 'Em All. While discussing his musical influences, Hammett revealed a long-held admiration for the British hard rock band UFO, and his awe-inspiring encounter with their former guitarist, Paul Chapman.
Despite never witnessing Michael Schenker's legendary tenure with UFO, Hammett was initially skeptical about seeing them with Chapman. However, Chapman's performance completely blew him away.
"I had never seen UFO with Michael Schenker. The first time I saw UFO, which was my favorite band of all time, was with Paul Chapman. I showed up a little skeptical to that gig, but then I saw Paul on stage and he blew me away. It wasn't fair to compare him to Michael Schenker, because they're two completely different players."
Meeting Chapman years later was a dream come true for Hammett, allowing him to "close that circle" with a key figure who shaped UFO's sound.
"I felt like I was finally closing that circle; meeting everyone who was instrumental in shaping UFO's sound. When I met him, I was just so stoked. I can play a lot of his stuff, not just Michael Schenker's licks, and especially on Kill 'Em All. Now that I think about it, there are Paul Chapman licks all throughout Kill 'Em All."
Hammett's admiration extends beyond inspiration, as he contemplates learning from the master himself. "I asked him, 'What do you do nowadays?' And he said, 'I play in local bands and I give guitar lessons,'" Hammett recalled. "And, for a second, I thought, 'Maybe I should get a guitar lesson.'"