Metallica never argue about whose riff is whose because they "forget" who did what.
Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett has insisted there are no egos among his bandmates and they are more proud of their work as a whole than being concerned with personal contributions.
Speaking to Guitar World magazine about their latest LP '72 Seasons', the axe-slayer said: "We just forget! We'll be like, 'That's my riff... oh wait, is that my riff or someone else's that I've played so much I now think it's mine?!' Stuff like that is not a concern during the creative process. It's something we work out once all the smoke clears and we're done with them. Only then will I sit back and think, 'Oh yeah, I made some contributions on this album, that's nice!' For me, it's not the beginning and the end of my vindication in this band. It doesn't come down to personal contribution, you know?"
Kirk admits he and frontman James Hetfield "rely on each other a lot" as the guitarists, while heaping praise on his bandmate for having a more "natural instinct" as a guitarist than he does.
He explained: "We rely on each other a lot. I lean on him to put down the most solid rhythms, and he relies on me to play all the complicated guitar parts and solos. It's a very functional relationship in that regard. Our roles are pretty firmly defined in this band ... it just works. All that aside, from a pure technique perspective, James is the most natural guitar player out there. He doesn't even have to practice. He can just pick up a guitar and play 32-second low-E notes really fast. He's the best at that. Then he can add a staccato rhythm so easily; he goes into these percussive modes where he treats his guitar like a drum kit. All of a sudden these riffs start flying out. It's a real wonder to watch, and if you're not used to seeing it, it's a bit intimidating. Luckily I'm used to seeing it. And it can be hard to keep up with his natural instinct as a guitarist because it is so powerful."