How Metallica's Kirk Hammett Wound Up Receiving a Gift From Night Stalker Richard Ramirez

The Metallica guitarist told Kerrang that when the band went to the prison to film the video for “St. Anger,” Ramierez was serving a life sentence on death row and through a warden was handed a souvenir.

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett received a gift in 2003 by Richard Ramirez, a serial killer known as the Night Stalker, when the band was filming a music video inside California’s San Quentin Prison, he told Kerrang.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told the music magazine that when Metallica went to the prison to film the video for “St. Anger,” the title track from their 2003 record of the same name, Ramirez was serving a life sentence on death row. While there, Hammett said he was handed a gift by a warden. 

“I got a really cool thing from one of the correctional officers,” Hammett said. ​“It was a magazine with us on the cover and the subscription tag said ​‘Richard Ramirez’– the ​‘Night Stalker’ killer, who was at San Quentin while we were playing. He was a Metallica fan, but he was on death row and he could only hear us. I still have the magazine. It’s a nice little novelty item.”

Ramirez was found guilty in 1989 of 43 crimes, including 13 counts of murder. He died in 2013 of B-cell lymphoma while on death row.

In 1993, Ramirez spoke to Inside Edition for one of his first and only jailhouse interviews.

“I didn’t particularly care for people,” he said at the time. “I believe in the evil in human nature. This is a wicked world and in a wicked world wicked people are born.”

Hammett also revealed that filming inside the prison was intense but not as nerve-wracking as one would expect. He also said one of the men imprisoned knew his mother.

"There were some women who came with us and they had to be restricted to a certain area because it was just too dangerous for them to even be seen,” he said. “At one point, one of the inmates screamed over to me and said, ​‘Hey, Kirk, I know your mom!’ and I was like, ​‘Excuse me?’ He goes, ​‘Yeah, I used to mow her lawn!’"

While touring has halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, Metallica fans were treated to a performance on Super Bowl Sunday, as the metal icons performed “Enter Sandman” on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”