Metallica could be forgiven if they're not fans after losing out to Jethro Tull at 1989’s Grammy awards.

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Metallica were regarded as obvious winners in that year's Best Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Performance category for … And Justice For All, but the award was instead given to Jethro Tull for Crest of a Knave. The resulting backlash forced Grammy bosses to reorganize the categories, and Metallica won in 1990.

Despite all of that, Kirk Hammett says he now follows Ian Anderson’s group – and stressed the controversy never affected his opinion of the music.

“I just really got into prog about five years ago,” Hammett tells Goldmine. “I wasn’t into prog. Just accidentally I heard Jethro Tull's Stand Up and I went, ‘Wow!’ I never ever had paid much attention to Jethro Tull. I just never did.” He added with a laugh: “And it didn’t help losing to them in 1989 for that Grammy!

“But that’s really not the reason why I wasn’t into Jethro Tull, believe me. I just never got around to it. Sometimes you just don’t get around to certain things. So, I ended up checking out their entire catalog and now I’m a full-on Jethro Tull fan.”

Hammett recently released his debut solo EP, Portals, which perhaps carries a hint of his conversion to prog.

“These solos have no limitations on them,” he recently told UCR. “A lot of times when I’m coming up with solos for Metallica, I have to play for the song. I have to play within the context of the song. I have to make the solo somewhat accessible … and also, with Lars [Ulrich], because Lars likes to micromanage everything … he gives me input. That shapes the solos. It’s not 100% me. I’ve always kind of alluded to that. On this LP, it’s 100% me with no limitations and stream of consciousness.”

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