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Interview: Metallica

Rob Trujillo Talks Hard Times And Juju...

If there was any truth to the age old saying “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” then Metallica must be damn near invincible.

They’ve had their fare share of demons to put to rest, but as one reviewer succinctly said, “Metallica never really went away. They just went through a prolonged period - of around 15 years - in which they lost sight of what they do best.”

And judging by their recent spate of gigs, the Metal pioneers haven’t merely broken through the other side, they’ve emerged triumphant and more determined to conquer with sonic fireworks than ever.

Their Aussie tour was the fastest selling arena tour of 2010 (with diehard fans bagging more than 215 000 tickets in less than an hour) they’ve sold over 100 million albums worldwide, polished off a two-year world tour and released one of the most successful and critically acclaimed albums of their career.

So what’s left for the metal lords to achieve? Well according to newest recruit Robert Trujillo, plenty!

On the eve of their Sydney gig, we sit down with the smooth talking bassist to talk hard times, growing up and playing gigs in Ayers Rock!

MTV CLASSIC: So why did your band choose to put out an EP of live performances from Australia instead of many other regions?

Rob: To be completely honest, I don't know why we chose to put out the live productions from Australia. You know, it’s fitting us being down here and it’s been a while, a few years.

I gotta say this - I think we are a much better band than when we were here in 2004, so I hope people don't critique what they hear, but it's a way for us to show the people of Australia we are excited to be here and we want to give them a little something... I love surfing, I love the lifestyle here in Australia and as a band we are very excited to be here.

MTV CLASSIC: You're EP ‘Six Feet Down Under’ covers a bunch of past Metallica shows, some of which weren't even recorded by you, how did it feel to discover the huge network of bootlegs of the past?

Rob: I have only heard maybe three or four of the tracks and obviously some of it is very raw, and I guess there is a magic in that… But that is the beauty of Metallica we are ready to deliver warts and all. I mean we are not trying to hide anything - I think its good people can experience the past and the present, and maybe the next time we are here we will give them something for the future…who knows.

MTV CLASSIC: And the EP covers the ‘St Anger’ tour. How has the tour changed for you since the last time you were here?

Rob: I really honestly I think that we have matured. We made ‘Death Magnetic’ together, we experienced the whole process of recording as a team and being creative and also Rick Ruban in our camp, so we’ve had a lot of fun. We’ve all had a lot of children born in the last few years so the life experiences alone are really special. We feel privileged and honoured to be here again and we are ready to kick some ass and I think people will have a good time.

MTV CLASSIC: All your gigs sold out here in less than an hour making it the fastest selling arena in 2010. Metallica have achieved so much, is there anything left to tick off?

Rob: I think that we are going to have to play a gig at Ayers Rock . You know, under he stars acoustic, congo drums, violins… You know just get primitive…That’s going to be the next thing - I haven’t told the guys yet, but I'll share that with them. That will be our next real Aussie experience and then after that maybe surf the Gold Coast for a while.

MTV CLASSIC: Joining the band late in its career can be tough, is there anything you would do differently? And are there things about the other members of Metallica that still surprise you?

Rob: You know when I first joined the band it was a fragile camp. Things were definitely in a positive direction, but I think James Hetfeild was still pretty fragile coming out of the rehab and all the stuff that was going on in his life. And when we got into recording ‘Death Magnetic’, I noticed a big difference from the ‘St Anger’ days. He was just a lot looser, kind of a funner spirit. Before it was kind of like walking on eggshells. Everything was according to a schedule so if you were ten minutes late you would get the death look or you would have to have a meeting about it and for me, coming in as the new guy… I was living in Los Angeles at the time and relocating and all that it was a lot to take in, learning all the songs…

Now it’s like he has got his juju back, his fire. ‘Death Magnetic’ for him was a major accomplishment. He was very focused and we had a lot of fun in the process and it’s just great to be with these guys now and he is so excited to be here.

MTV CLASSIC: We have been seeing a whole lot of Slash this year, we were just wondering if you are familiar or have met him?

Rob: Yeah I met him a few times when I played in Suicidal Tendencies a little while ago, we actually toured with Guns N' Roses and he was very cool. On the other hand I never actually met Axl, I saw him walk by a couple times and look the other way and walk away from me, I don't know if he was afraid of me but Slash was always very cool. He is obviously an amazing guitar player and I have a lot of respect for him because he does not try and keep his abilities in one genre. He likes to mix it up with different types of musicians and he has done that on his new record so I have a lot of respect for him. You know I think that if he made a speed metal record I would be very excited, hopefully Slash you are going to make a speed metal record on the next round ok?

What did you think of Metallica's recent tour? Let us know by commenting below! Meanwhile, catch the full interview with Rob Trujillo below!