METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett has recorded a guest appearance on the upcoming album from MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST, the project led by legendary German axeman Michael Schenker.
Schenker told Metal Discovery that Hammett laid down his part at a studio in Hawaii with producer Michael Voss.
“Kirk, you know, he’s a Michael Schenker fan all the way, and he has become a friend, and he plays in the biggest band on this planet,” Schenker said. ” So I asked him if he wanted to do this, and he was more than happy. And so Michael Voss flew over there and recorded him.”
According to Schenker, the MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST album, which was recorded in four different locations over a five-month period, will feature Hammett “doing a guitar part with me,” along with contributions from three original M.S.G. (MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP) singers — Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley — plus Doogie White, who plays with Michael in MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK.
“Doogie sings three songs and Gary sings three songs… there’s like three or four songs they actually sung together,” Schenker said. “You know, one sings a verse, and Gary sings the bridge, and Robin sings the chorus and whatever… It’s really unique to hear these different voices singing the same lines. And we have a song which immediately was ready to become the promo song that will introduce the album. You know, when I’m on my promotion tour, I think that will be the song that will be played. And there’s some footage when we were recording in Stuttgart, and it was really fun watching those guys with how they get on with each other.”
He added: “It’s just very entertaining with all these different vocalists on there, especially when they’re sharing a song; it’s such a great feeling to hear that.”
Hammett and Schenker first traded licks during the taping of VH1 Classic‘s “That Metal Show” in April 2015 at Metropolis Studios in New York City. Less than a month later, Kirk joined Michael on stage at the RockBar in San Jose, California to perform a couple of songs: UFO‘s “Natural Thing” and SCORPIONS‘ “Blackout”.
In an interview with Guitar World magazine, Hammett spoke about how his life was changed when he first heard UFO‘s 1975 album “Force It”, which featured Schenker on guitar.
“I was 15 years old and a friend of mine brought it over to my house insisting I had to hear it,” Hammett recalled.
“I was still living at my parents’ house at the time, and they had a very loud stereo system. My friends would come over and we would blast it up to what we thought was concert level. Boy, was I naïve!
“The first track my friend played was ‘Mother Mary’, and I thought, wow, these guys are just as heavy as THIN LIZZY, AEROSMITH, MONTROSE and all the other hard rock stuff that I was listening to before I got into heavy metal.
“When it got to the guitar solo, I was just blown away by Michael Schenker‘s tone, phrasing and technique. By the time the second solo came on with the fastest descending lick I’d ever heard, I was totally hooked! I immediately grabbed the album cover and saw the picture of Schenker playing a Flying V.
“From that point on, I knew there was an entire rock vocabulary out there that was not just based on pentatonic scales, and I set out to learn as many Schenker solos as possible while trying to write heavy riffs just like UFO. I also wanted a Flying V so bad!
“That record taught me a lot about solo structure, phasing and melody, as well as playing for the song. I was amazed how UFO could be so heavy and so melodic in the course of one song. I think the band I was in at the time added two UFO songs to its set that week.
“For me, the standout tracks on ‘Force It’ are ‘Mother Mary’, ‘Shoot Shoot’, ‘This Kid’s’, ‘Out On The Street’ and ‘Let It Roll’. Every time I pick up the guitar and start improvising, I think a lick or two from that album squeaks out subconsciously. I probably spew the most Schenker licks on [METALLICA‘s 1983 debut album] ‘Kill ‘Em All’ because everything was still kind of new to me at that time.”
The MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST album will be released in early 2018 via Nuclear Blast.