This weekend sees the opening of Fear FestEvil, which comes to you from the mind of Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett! The convention aims to be a full experience unlike anything any horror fan has experienced before, complete with amazing guest appearances, interactive displays, musical performances, and much more! And to get ready for this awesome event, we got the chance to interview Mr. Hammett himself! Head on below for our exclusive interview where he talks the FestEvil, a second book, how he wants to die in a horror movies (and how he DOESN’T want to die), and much more!
Confirmed guests to appear at the Fear FestEvil include Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), pioneering make-up artist and actor Tom Savini, legendary horror scribe John A. Russo (Night of the Living Dead), Anthrax co-founder Scott Ian, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and horror enthusiast Slash, Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare On Elm Street), Ron Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi Jr. and Sara Karloff, actresses P.J. Soles, Barbara Crampton, Patty Mullen, and Erika Eleniak, original Godzilla actor Haruo Nakajima, original Ultraman Satoshi “Bin” Furuya, Academy Award winning make-up artist Joel Harlow, Kane Hodder aka Jason Vorhees – Friday the 13th, celebrated tattoo artist and TV personality Amy Nicoletto, and more. For tickets and more information, head to the official Fear FestEvil website.
Bloody-Disgusting: Hey Kirk, how are you doing?
Kirk Hammett: Good, man. How are things?
BD: Doing very well, thanks for asking! It’s been a bit since we’ve last spoken. Something like a year and a half or so.
KH: Yeah, it’s something like that. I know that some of you guys are going to me coming up for the festival!
BD: It’s possible! I know that I won’t be able to make it just because I’m on the other side of the country but hopefully we’ve got someone going out there to have what sounds like it’s going to be an awesome time!
KH: I’m so into it, bro. The way it’s all coming together I think is going to be a really unique, different, and exciting convention experience. Different from what you’d usually expect.
BD: Reading about it and seeing all the events and everything that’s being put into it, it does seem like something that’s really unique. Honestly, what I love about it is that it took things to a whole new level. It became an event rather than just another con.
KH: Yeah! My vision was for it to be a total experience. We’re encouraging a lot of interaction. The venue that we’re using was an old Masonic temple and rumor has it that it was haunted. So, for me, that is so appropriate.
We’re going to have a lot of different guest or vendors that you wouldn’t normally see at conventions. Things like tattoo artists. We’re gonna have a taxidermist who’s going to have a huge display and do a demonstration. We’re gonna have a lot of guests, actresses, actors, producers, directors. They’re going to be doing various signings. We’re going to dress the venue up and we’re hiring actors to come down and get dressed up in character and walk around. There are various contests, like a model building contest. The bands that are playing are also going to be doing signings. There’s going to be a lot going on all the time.
My entire collection is going to be on display for people to see. I’m just super stoked and so happy to be able to conceive of a convention that I want a convention to be. If I was a kid and I was going to this convention I would just be totally fucking blown away by it! And that’s what I’m trying to do, make it a complete experience!
BD: As an adult I would be completely blown away!
KH: [laughs] Yeah! I’m really psyched because Slash [ex-Guns N Roses] is going to be there plugging his movie. Scott Ian [Anthrax] is going to be there talking about his love of horror.
We’re also going to have a bunch of music vendors there like ESP guitars, Randall amps. It’s going to be a really great thing and I’m just really psyched about it.
I’m also really psyched about the musical portion of it too! It’s going to be Carcass‘s debut on the West Coast and I’m going to play with my old pals Exodus and Death Angel. It’s going to be one big monster party! [laughs]
BD: That’s something that I love about this festival. It’s a great way to connect horror with our lifestyle, our passions, such as music. They seem to fit so seamlessly together.
KH: Yeah, it’s because they have the same ingredients. Horror and the heavy metal genre are basically made out of the same stitching. Watching a good horror movie is like listening to a good heavy metal song and vice versa. For me, I was way into horror way before I was into horror of any kind. When I first heard Black Sabbath, I was both fascinated and confused. I was fascinated because I was hearing and feeling a lot of the same emotions that I get when I watch a horror movie. I was confused because I thought, “Wait a minute, this is just a band! This isn’t a story…or is it?” And the further I delved into music and the more I became fans of various bands the more I saw horror movie elements. I would always chuckle to myself and think, “Oh, I know where they got that scene from. That’s the spider rat bat crab from Angry Red Planet that they’re using as their album cover!”
Angry Samoans! Remember that punk band? Their first album cover was a colorized scene from this really great bad 1950’s horror movie called Monster of Piedras Blancas. Throughout my whole music I was making these connections with heavy metal and horror and it’s just cut from the same cloth! A lot of the same emotions and feelings except on is visual and one is audio.
For me to have these two passions coalesce into one thing, i.e. the Fear FestEvil, it’s a great opportunity to have a lot of fun and share my collection with people and hang out with like-minded collectors and participants. I’m just so fucking happy, bro!
BD: Putting together a festival is a lot of work. The connections that need to be made, the planning that needs to occur. What did you learn from putting together this festival?
KH: Well, I learned that it was a good thing we started planning this a good eight to 10 months ago because people’s schedules get eaten up. If you’re on the circuit and you’re an actor, an actress, a director, a producer, an artist, and you’re on the convention circuit, people’s schedules fill up within weeks. So it’s really important to reach out to these people months and months and months ahead of the actual convention just to make sure their schedule is open.
Same thing with the bands! We had to approach these bands months ago to make sure they’re available. And with the venue itself! The reason it’s in the first week of February and not the last week is because of unavailability. And then you have to foresee how the day will unfold. You have to work on the schedule. You have to think of everyone coming in and all their different needs. It’s a lot of work but it’s great because you know that if you do your diligence and you make sure everything is covered, once the convention comes in, everything should work just fine.
I want to say “if” because it’s the first one. Everything right now is running smoothly. We’re just checking to make sure no one is left in the dust, we’re not forgetting anything, there’s no unforeseen problems or mistakes. We’re just hoping that we can produce the best convention that anyone could ever see.
BD: You said that this is the first year. Are you preparing to have second year?
KH: The idea is to do this on an annual basis, yes. That decision will be made…let’s see…I think about…February 9th. [laughs]
But the idea is to do another one next year and to possibly bring it down to LA if we feel that we can. And in the third year, bring it LA, Chicago, Texas, New York. We’ll see how it all happens.
But that’s the idea because I realized that there’s a lot of people who go to conventions all over the country and I really feel like I have something different to other. Like my band [laughs] you have to travel to where the people are! Hopefully this is something that we can take on the road at some point. That’s the long term idea.
BD: That answered a question I had planned which was do you plan to take this on the road? I mean, that would also be kind of a first of its kind!
KH: Yeah, yeah! So we’ll see how it all goes, bro!
BD: Due to your love of horror and the passion you have for it, you remind me of those character’s in horror movies that are really knowledgeable and learned. The main characters go to this kind of character and ask for guidance. After this scene, they invariably meet a horrible death! So it made me wonder, if you could be in a horror movie and choose your movie death, what would it be?
KH: Okay, you remember John Carpenter’s The Thing?
BD: Oh yeah!
KH: I would have liked to have been infected by ‘The Thing’. Actually, maybe I would’ve liked to have gone out as a victim of The Thing monster in the fucking North Pole. I think that would’ve been great to have been in the presence of some alien, extra terrestrial who has all these super powers and to see that all before I went, I think that would be a great way to go.
One way I would NOT want to go is being possessed by the Devil and having to go through an exorcism. That, to me, is really scary. And it’s only scary to me because I came from Roman Catholic upbringing and went to Catholic school, so that stuff resonates a little bit more with me than with other things.
BD: ‘Through The Never’ has gotten a lot of really positive reception. Our own Mr. Disgusting put it in his Top 10 Movies From 2013. For you, you’ve been part of so many things including touring, live DVDs, and now putting together this festival. With filming this movie, how did those experiences factor in and what did you have to pull from during the filming?
KH: We learned a lot about making a movie. We made Some Kind Of Monster but we didn’t know we were making it while we were making it AND it turned out to be a documentary. This time around we were actually involved in making a movie and we learned a lot! The whole process, the whole production of it. I personally learned that being a musician is way cooler than being an actor [laughs]! You know, from my opinion!
For [Metallica] to do what we do, which is create albums and tour, we only really need the four of us and a little bit of an infrastructure. When we make an album that infrastructure is an engineer and a producer. To make a movie, you need the four of you, and the producers, and the directors, and and the camera crew, the lighting crew, and people who are involved in the distribution company.
Point being, there’s a lot of people involved and all of these people have opinions, and they’re valid opinions! You end up listening to all these peoples’ opinions and, because of this, movies are made in a very collaborative sense. It’s almost by consensus how things move forward. For us, that’s fine too. That’s okay, too. But we’re a band that doesn’t like to have their creative ideas diluted or diffused in any way [laughs]. So, for us, making this movie was a bit of a bittersweet experience.
But that being said, I think we made a really fucking great film. I mean, we put a lot of time and effort into making sure the storyline was exactly the way we wanted it to be. We took a lot of time making sure the concert footage was just right. It was shot the way we wanted it to be, it was edited and mixed the way we wanted it to be. And when they were put together we made sure the balance was just right. And at the end of it I really felt that we made a fucking great fucking movie! And it’s surprising because a lot of our fans went out to the theaters to see it but we were also counting on a lot of casual moviegoers to check it out. But, for some reason or another, the appeal just wasn’t there. We don’t know why but we actually have learned something from that whole experience: If you’re going to make a movie, make sure someone else pays for it! [laughs]
Having said that, I got my feet wet in the whole movie making process and now I’m a little more interested in making a movie one of these days just as long as someone gives me the money to make it!
BD: Last question for you! When we last spoke, we were talking about your book, ‘Too Much Horror Business’, and you let slip that you were working on a second book. Is that something that’s still in the works?
KH: Oh yeah, there’s definitely plans for another book. It’s going to be slightly different from ‘Too Much Horror Business’. It’s going to be more based upon the pop culture of the 60’s and 70’s with a lot of hot rod culture and surf culture as well as monster and horror culture. There’ll be a lot of TV stuff, too. But all within collecting. Toy collecting, artwork, posters, and whatnot. I said to myself that I have to give the next Metallica album priority. I’m going to wait until we’re two thirds through the next Metallica album before I start work on the book. And so, maybe the book will come out in the end of 2015, beginning of 2016, if the planet has blown up by then [laughs]!
But yes, I’m definitely planning on doing another book and I haven’t started it yet and I won’t start it until the end of this year. So, that’s that!
BD: Kirk, thanks so much for your time and I wish you the best of luck with everything you have going on!
KH: Cheers, man! Hopefully I’ll catch you sooner rather than later!