METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo was interviewed on the September 19 edition of “Whiplash”, the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie. A few excerpts follow.
On reconciling a need for artistic growth with the constant calls for METALLICA to make an album that is reminiscent of its earliest efforts:
Trujillo: “Well, one of the things about this band is I feel that with the release of [2008’s] ‘Death Magnetic’, at least for me, and also at the time having Rick Rubin on board as our producer and getting Rick to get Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] to reunite with thrash, stylistically, and going back and being cool with the energy of that, and then taking that and being creative and then growing together over these last few years since that music was actually recorded and taking this on, you know, for us, it’s exciting. And I think one of the most important things is having that energy to create and the inspiration at a time, usually, in a lot of bands’ careers where they get to a point where they start getting bored with music or the creative ideas stop flowing, and there’s no shortage of [ideas] with METALLICA today. In fact, our problem is… It’s the process of elimination — we’ve got too many riffs, and you’ve gotta kind of jam ’em out and see what lives and survives, and some of the stuff that doesn’t survive could be the best riff on another band’s album, you know what I mean? And so I think that having that youthful energy to create and being excited about it is what keeps us… at least on this new record, has kept things fresh, and also hopefully creating a body of music that’s relevant and that old fans and new fans can relate to and be inspired by. And then hopefully that transitions into them wanting to see us live and experience the music on that level. So I guess it just really narrows down to us being motivated to create and still having the desire. A lot of bands will actually go to outside writers to help them create or to write their songs for them, and that’s not what’s happening here. But it does take time. We’ve also had a lot of… We’ve been sidetracked over the years. I know that’s frustrating to our fans. We made a film called ‘Through The Never’ and we did an album [‘Lulu’] with Lou Reed, which was very important to us. We like to try things, and sometimes, in our fans’ eyes, it’s a success and sometimes it isn’t, but that’s what we do — we take chances. And I’m excited that we’ve created a body of music that we’re excited about. And it almost feels like it’s current with the times and it makes sense. Maybe it’s gonna be therapeutic for a lot of people around the world that are frustrated with what’s going on, you know what I mean?”
On spending several years to write and record the music for METALLICA‘s new album, ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’:
Trujillo: “Well, you know, as you get older, in life you have more responsibilities, and a lot of times that has to do with family, which is a good thing. Kids are great. We all have our kids and our wives, and there’s a responsibility to your family, and that you’ve gotta balance. It’s all about balance. It’s balancing out the creative process and your life as a dad or whatever. And we found a way to do that. And also touring, we balance that as well too; we kind of fit it around our kids’ schedules and school schedules and stuff like that. So we’re there for our kids. At the same time, with music, we just make sure we’re really focused, and when we get in a room and we work, we’re really channeling our energy into whatever we’re creating. And a lot of what we do now is sort of jam-oriented, so there may be a collection… I mean, there’s definitely a collection of riffs that have come up over the years, and everybody’s got their ideas, and then you basically play ’em out. You see what survives, what works; you try different things. I mean, with James, there’s always gonna be a ton of extra lyrics or melodic ideas that he’s gonna try before he settles into what’s gonna survive the track. So it’s really like building a house. And in a way we try not to worry about the open-ended factor, and I know it drives our management crazy. They just want the music to get written quick, and that’s not how it works here. I’ve been in other situations… I mean, I had a band called the INFECTIOUS GROOVES, and, basically, we would jam for five days. We’d go into a rehearsal room, not more than four hours, and at the end of five days, with our little cassette players, and we would say, ‘Okay, here’s one song. Here’s two.’ We’d have all the songs on cassette. Maybe we formulated the idea and the next time we’d see each other with our cassettes was in the studio, and it was always about capturing the moment, and that’s what worked for that situation. And that’s something, with METALLICA, that we can’t do — we have to nurture and try things and build the house, so to speak. But at the same time, I think that’s what makes the songs special. And it’s just a different way of doing things.”
On his musical relationship with METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich:
Trujillo: “Well, over the years, I feel that we’ve grown; we’ve become a better fit. When I first joined the band, it was different. I’m not saying it was bad; it was just different. You’re learning how to play with each other and find that groove. And one of the things that I feel, in over thirteen years [of me being in the band] now, is, again, with the challenges that we’ve taken as a band, as a team, as a musical family, we’ve managed to find a groove with each other and to apply that to the music. Like with the new album… I feel that the new album, though it’s pretty aggressive and it’s got that energy that is thrash and it’s in your face, it’s still grooving. It could be fast, whatever — there’s a pocket there, and I think that’s really important for any rhythm section. It’s more comfortable now. We feel, with time and in aging together, we’ve found our niche as a rhythm section, and that’s special. It’s, like, I’m excited about the next record for that reason. I think ‘Death Magnetic’ definitely set us in the right direction and ‘Hardwired’ sort of made us better. And the continuation of that, whatever is gonna happen in the future, is really exciting to me, ’cause I know there’s a lot left in the tank. So these are exciting times for Robert Trujillo and METALLICA.”
‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ is scheduled for a November 18 release via Blackened Recordings. The long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s ‘Death Magnetic’ consists of two discs, containing a dozen songs and nearly 80 minutes of music.
“Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” was produced by Greg Fidelman with Hetfield and Ulrich. The band recorded the disc at its own studio.
“Whiplash” airs every Monday night from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on the Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. The show can be heard on the KLOS web site at 955klos.com or you can listen in on the KLOS channel on iHeartRadio. Full Metal Jackie also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, which can be heard all over the country.