As usual, since he was fired from Metallica in 1983, Metallica is the topic of many of his interviews.
How did it feel to be No.1 in Joel McIver’s recent book, The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists?
“It was especially sweet when I found out that Joel has written books on Metallica. I looked at my copy of the book – I wasn’t on the cover or the back. I figured I’d be somewhere like No.69. So I thumbed through it; it’s a really comprehensive, good book. I got to No.50 and I thought, `Am I in here?’ I’d been told that I was, but not which position. So I got No.16 and I saw Hetfield. I thought, `Wow’ because I respect James. I’m a better lead player than he is, but he’s one of the three best rhythm players in the world.”
The other two being?
“Malcolm Young [of AC/DC] and myself. Malcolm kept it basic but brought a whole new style of rhythm playing to the world. So I got to the Top 10… I still wasn’t in there. Every page I turned, I became more excited. I get to No.5 and it’s Kirk [Hammett], and I thought, `Thank you, God’.”
“At that point it didn’t matter [which position I was]. To be better than both of them [Hetfield and Hammett] meant so much – it’s been one of the pet peeves of my career and I’ve never known how to deal with it. I didn’t realise that it has had so much bearing upon my life. Then I got to No.2 and it was John Petrucci [of Dream Theater] and I froze. I was No.1.