It’s a sort of posthumous dislike that Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett recently recounted in the NME’s question-and-answer format, “Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!” A belated reckoning with the hard rock machoism of Axl Rose and his leather-bound men in the late 1980s.
Kurt Cobain, Hammett said, “didn’t like what Guns N’ Roses stood for.” Nirvana were handpicked from the highest authority to kick off a genre-crossing US tour package for Metallica and the Roses. Cobain just didn’t feel like it.
After the worldwide lightning success of the album “Nevermind”, released in September 1991, the former indie-grungers were self-confident enough to reject the offer from the hard & heavy camp.
“It was my job with Kurt [Cobain] call to discuss the terms of joining our tour,” Hammett recalled. “He was always lecturing about not liking what Guns N’ Roses stood for. I played the pragmatist and said to him, ‘Just go on stage and represent your band Nirvana. Play the show and that’s it’”.
But Hammett bit on granite with Cobain. “I practically begged him, but he wouldn’t listen. It would have been so great if Nirvana had been a part of this tour. But like life, the nominal support act Faith No More was great too.”
Hammett further recalled inviting Cobain to Metallica’s show in Seattle as part of The Black Album tour. “And he was just like, ‘Are you going to play Whiplash? My favorite 1984 song of yours!’”
“When he came to the show he was dancing around in the snakepit with Courtney Love and every time he tumbled past me he was trying to get my attention, but I had my head somewhere else at the time.
“Nevertheless, a great start. I became friends with him when the first Nirvana album ‘Bleach’ came out in 1989, before the term grunge was even around. It makes me sad when I think back on it. All. what this guy wanted was to play guitar, write songs and sing. Somehow it all got destroyed.’”