Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett said he got his “brain back” when he stopped drinking in 2014.

Since he gave up alcohol in 2014, he asserted, he's found much more energy to focus on his creativity, and as a result, he doesn't feel like he's 59.

His reflection followed a question from Kerrang! about how his new solo EP, Portals, came about, given that Metallica split with Jason Newsted in 2001 because the band didn’t want the bassist to pursue solo projects.

“We’ve all grown up, basically,” Hammett said. “So the question is, Were we not grown up back then? Of course not. We’ll be the first ones – or at least I will – to put my hands up and say I only feel like I’ve reached maturity in the last 10 fucking years. Also, I have to say I’ve been sober for seven and a half years now, and my mind is in a different place. I’m better focused. I got my brain back, I’ve gotten my memory back. So nowadays I’m in a better place.”

He added that "when I got sober, I had so much more time. I was spending almost every night in a nightclub or bar and then I'd spend almost every morning recovering from that. Day in, day out, regardless of whether I was on tour or not. And now that’s been removed from my life, I have all this extra time, so of course, I’m going to play my guitar more. It’s what I love to do and as a consequence of that there’s just a higher output.”

He described his current way of working as “a better model” than his earlier approach. “It’s weird,” he reflected. “I’m 59 years old, and I don't think I've even peaked creatively or musically. I certainly don't feel 59 – I still go out and surf three or four times a week, run, ride my bike and play my guitar. I still feel as energetic as I’ve ever been, and I attribute that to giving up drinking. And this is all the result of that.”

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