METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the band's contribution to THE RAMONES tribute album, "We're A Happy Family" (in the form of the track "53rd and 3rd"), and the legendary New York group's enduring influence on the current music scene.

"I think just now culture is beginning to get it and understand THE RAMONES," Hammett said. "For some reason they're more relevant now musically and culturally than they were then.

"They were so ahead of their time," he continued. "But the presentation wouldn't have suggested that these guys were pioneers, because they had a cartoonish, comic-book image. So a lot of people wouldn't really go deeper."

"They showed that anyone, and I mean anyone, can join a rock 'n' roll band. It doesn't really matter what you look like, it's all about what you sound like and what your attitude is.

"It enabled the funniest, dorkiest looking guy to put on a leather jacket and feel cool. And that was me.... That was such a powerful thing because it gave me confidence."


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