Author: Michael Pementel
During a conversation with Doc Coyle of Bad Wolves and God Forbid, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo shared a story about one time when things got a little heated between him and Metallica singer James Hetfield.
The conversation took place during Coyle’s podcast, The Ex-Man With Doc Coyle. The Metallica bassist starts out by talking about how all bands/artists are going to have ups and downs, and how it’s important to maintain a level of respect within a band.
He then shares a story involving him and the band, and a particular moment involving that of Metallica singer James Hetfield where Trujillo “blew a fuse.” The following was transcribed by Blabbermouth.
Metallica bassist talks heated moment with Metallica singer
“Any situation, people that are coming up and doing bands, never get caught up in the idea that you’re in your band and you’re safe and nothing can touch you. Anybody can be replaced. And you wanna always try to be as respectful as possible. Because you’re gonna have your ups and downs and you’re gonna bump heads — that’s a given — but it doesn’t mean you quit or you hate the person or whatever.
“I’ve always been in situations in my groups where there were those moments where things get heated and you’re bumping heads. It happens in Metallica. There’s been a couple of times, even with James [Hetfield, Metallica frontman].
“James is a little… Maybe something’s bothering him… I remember one time a few years ago — about three years ago — in Italy. Poor guy, he got stung by a bee in his face, I think it was. I don’t think he’s allergic, but there was poison oak going on. So your face is hurtin’, your body’s itchin’. You’re out there on the road.
“It’s raining. We were in Italy or something. And one of the songs — like ‘Memory Remains’ or something… I had a lot in my head. Kirk [Hammett, Metallica guitarist] and I were doing these duets and I’m singing in other languages. And Lars [Ulrich, Metallica drummer] threw, like, ‘Do a bass solo,’ kind of a day before. And I’m just, like, ‘Aaaargh…’ So I’m tense.
“And [James is] tense too, but we’re tense about different things. And we’re going on stage very soon and things are running late. And we’re playing ‘Memory Remains’ [in the tuning room], and I’m just kind of jamming through it, but I’m not really jamming through it with full intensity; I’m just kind of ghosting it a little bit. And he’s, like, ‘You know the song?’ And this is a song we’ve played thousands of times.
“And I was insulted, because this is one of the easiest songs we play, and you’re asking me if I know the song. So I’m just kind of, like, ‘Yeah, I know the fucking s…’ I blew a fuse for a second. And then I felt horrible, and he felt horrible.
“And then we realized, I think, that I’m tripping on the load that I have on my shoulders over here; he’s tripping on this and this and probably… I mean, I get it, man — I’ve had poison oak; I’ve had bee stings before, and it ain’t fun. And you’re out there and you’re trying to be the best you can. So, rather than throwing your instruments down and coming to blows or anything like that, you work it out — you kind of calm yourself and you realize what’s going on.
“So even in our situation things like that can happen. And it’s just the nature of the beast. We’re all individuals and we all have our moments. So I always stress that — more now than ever.”
The Metallica bassist concludes with:
“Word to the wise: always maintain your composure. You’re in a band — that’s cool — but it’s about the relationship and being the best you can be, the best human you can be, the best brother, the best comrade. And that’s very important to everything here.”
You can listen to the full interview involving the Metallica bassist below: