In a recent interview with the U.K. radio station Planet Rock, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield spoke about guitarist Kirk Hammett's lack of songwriting contributions to the band's new album, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct". Asked if it's true that Hammett lost his phone with hundreds of riff ideas for the follow-up to 2008's "Death Magnetic" record, Hetfield said (hear audio below): "I don't know. That's what he tells us [laughs], so I take that as the truth. No, he submitted some riffs. I mean, not 'submitted'… We all pile in our ideas, and they're in the giant METALLICA riff pile, and Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] is the one — since he's not writing any of the riffs — he sifts through 'em and he's able to identify 'em. He's got a great ear for the riff, and he'll hear things that I don't hear. I think, 'Hey, this riff is great,' and, 'Yeah, but what about this part of this one?' [And he says] 'Nah, it's not so good.' And, 'Let's take that…' So he's not a guitar player, so it's an unorthodox approach at picking riffs, which his great."
He continued: "But as far as Kirk… Kirk was not present in the studio. He was dealing with life. 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 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."
"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album chart, selling 291,000 copies in its first week of release.