I WAS PLAYING around in the surf one day in Hawaii and someone zoomed passed me on a boogie board and I thought, “That’s amazing!”. And then someone went by on a surfboard and I thought, “That’s even more amazing!”. It’s hard to explain how invigorating and joyful surfing is.

WHENEVER I SURF, I feel something deep inside me. That’s the same feeling I have when playing on stage in front of a lot of people.

OUR CHANGING THINKING on spirituality fascinates me. Where quantum physics meets with philosophy meets with mathematics meets with engineering; how they’re all coming to the same place from different starting points and how the numbers and teachings vindicate one another. We’re all one. We’re indivisible.

THAT KIND OF IDEA is not for everyone. You basically have to say goodbye to everything you thought was real. It gets craaazy!

WHEN I LISTEN TO MUSIC—even classical music—I have a tendency to imagine that all the instruments are guitars and that makes it all so much more interesting. Play an oboe passage on guitar and it can sound amazing. Translate a French horn passage in the harmonics of a guitar and the result can just be incredible.

I KNOW ONE DAY my children will come into a lot of money and that bothers me. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about that, especially as I grew up with very little and know that when I had some disposable income I went a bit crazy. I’ve had pretty much everything I’ve ever dreamt of having.

THE TRICK always is to want what you already have, not to keep on wanting.

WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER and inspiring to be a rock musician, I was taken with rock ’n’ roll’s glamour, the romanticising of the lifestyle. Well, then you experience it—and it’s all bollocks.

BELIEVING in sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll is a quick way to ruin your life. Pretty much all of my peers bought into all that and didn’t come out at the end of it—addictions, narcissism, just inappropriate behaviour, all that changes people for the worse. The problem is that it seems like a good idea at the time. Yes, it was fun, but every day I have regrets [about it].

WHERE METALLICA STANDS in culture is very important to me. The band just gets bigger every year and when people hear your music for the first time when they’re younger, they just latch on to it. There’s only a handful of bands that are like that. In our case, it speaks to people who are pissed off and don’t know why, people who haven’t had enough of a voice or who haven’t yet found a way to express it.

WHEN we’ve all run out our lives, Metallica will still be this living entity. For some reason, it’s so much bigger than the four of us [band members].

IT’S SO HARD to find stage clothes—something that’s unique, that you don’t see everywhere but has a flashiness to it because it also needs to be something you can see from 50 feet away.

WEAR ALL BLACK—as you do in heavy metal—and the stage gets dark and then suddenly it’s like, “Where’s Kirk gone?” It took time for me to realise you can really express yourself through clothing and that clothing can be fun.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I never really understood what machismo was. And then one day I realised I was neck-deep in it. All my friends, my father, my uncles and cousins—they were macho so I was naturally drawn to that way of thinking. It wasn’t like we were all Clint Eastwood exactly but there is a covert kind of machismo—the aggression and hostility, the need to be the toughest guy in the room. For me that even meant writing tough, scary riffs. It’s still hard for me to write happy-sounding music. It needs to sound like scraping a shovel along concrete.

I TELL MY CHILDREN never to feel pressured by dad’s day job [or] by the idea that they have to rise to some kind of standard [of success]. I tell them to just try to do what makes you happy—as long as it contributes to your well-being—and pray that you can make a living from it.

THAT and be nice to people.

I DON’T KNOW where the points come from but you get extra points for being nice to people. It makes you a lot more positive. And positivity is progress.

I’M A HABITUAL COLLECTOR, BRO. My friend called me the other day and asked me, “Why do you collect plastic bags?”. And I thought ‘I’ve been completely rumbled here’ because I do. I have OCD and collect anything.

I’M AT THAT AGE when I can look back on my life and see patterns when I go hard on certain things—guitars, vehicles, watches... plastic bags.

THE TRICK IS to not care what people think [about you]—not the way you’re dressed or your music or anything.

EVERYONE WILL HAVE AN OPINION—that’s what my parents told me—and it just doesn’t matter, especially since everyone’s opinion is coloured by where they are at in their lives.

UNFORTUNATELY, social media has turned that around.