How Robert Trujillo Joined Metallica
It takes a special type of person to hold his own in Metallica‘s heavy metal fray — not only on musical terms, but on an emotional level. So how did Robert Trujillo make his way into the lineup after Jason Newsted departed in 2001?
“Kind of a weird thing,” Trujillo recalled when the subject came up during a recent appearance on ‘Talk Is Jericho.’ “A mutual friend of Kirk [Hammett]‘s and mine had reached out to me to take him and Kirk surfing. They were going to be rolling through Southern California in an RV, and Kirk wants to surf, and do I have any advice on local spots? I said, ‘Sure, I’ll take him.’ So we went surfing for about a week, and he and his crew from the Bay Area camped out in this little RV … it was really great. The interesting thing is, we didn’t talk about music much.”
Having bonded with Trujillo over non-musical matters, Hammett thought of him when the band started auditioning replacements for Newsted. “It must have been a year later, maybe a little less — I was actually on a surf trip in Tahiti,” he continued. “Back then, you didn’t have the cell phones, so I was checking my voicemail, and it was actually Lars [Ulrich] and Kirk — ‘Hey, man, come up and jam with Metallica.'”
As it turned out, Trujillo already had plans to be in the Bay Area upon his return from Tahiti, and he quickly found himself shanghaied into the band’s rehearsal studio. “It was a two-day audition. The first day, I was sort of a fly on the wall, which was really interesting and strange … just kind of hanging around,” he remembered. “When you’re joining a band, it’s one thing to be able to play the material, but you have to get along with the players. At the end of the night on that first day, Lars was like, ‘Hey, man, let’s go grab a cocktail.’ We ended up hanging out and drinking until about five in the morning.”
As Trujillo went on to admit, he was a little worse for wear at the next day’s rehearsal, but it was still clearly enough to secure his spot in the band. You can check out the entire episode below — and if you listen closely, you might even be able to hear Hulk Hogan wishing he surfed more.
You Think You Know the ’92 Guns N’ Roses / Metallica Tour?
Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on
See the Yearbook Photos of James Hetfield and Other Rockers