From his earliest days in Venice, Robert Trujillo has kept the groove and remained humble through his musical journey. He has played with Suicidal Tendencies, Ozzy Osbourne, Infectious Grooves and, for the last 20 years, Metallica. The newest record was made during the pandemic and Robert brought the groove the way only he can. Robert is part of our Juice family and we are proud to present R.T. in our 30th anniversary edition.

You grew up on the West Side. What bands did you start with and who were the skaters and surfers in the scene then?

Well, I was born in Santa Monica in Saint John’s Hospital, October 23, 1964. My parents split when I was five years old. My dad moved to Venice, and my mom and I stayed in the Mar Vista/Culver City area. Suicidal Tendencies was a very prominent band on the scene when I was a teenager. Before Suicidal Tendencies, I remember there was a band called Mickey Ratt, which became the band Ratt. They had a hit song called “Round and Round”. They were a big deal on the West Side even though they were more of a hard rock glam band. Aside from that band, there was Venice, the band. They were cool. They were different from Suicidal Tendencies, but they were from the same hood, so it was this crazy thing. We all knew the same people and sometimes the two factions got along and sometimes we got freaked out and scared because Suicidal would roll up and it was like, “Run for cover!” It was like that especially at parties where the group Venice was hosting the bands. To the credit of Venice and Kipp Lennon, we borrowed his drummer, Scott Crago. Scott ended up being a drummer for the Eagles. Don Henley would go up to sing and Scott would play drums. Kipp Lennon and his brother, Pat, and their cousins, Michael and Mark, were all family in the Venice band. Kipp and Pat’s older sisters were the Lennon Sisters, who came up from The Lawrence Welk Show. Lawrence Welk’s home base was the Aragon Ballroom in Venice Beach, back in the day. There was all this energy then between Venice and Suicidal and the local punk bands and hardcore bands and thrash bands coming out of the scene like Neighborhood Watch and No Mercy. It just so happened that Rocky George who I went to junior high and high school with, became a guitar in Suicidal Tendencies. He toured on the Institutionalized album and then he joined the Army. In 1989, he got me an audition with Suicidal Tendencies and I joined the band. I replaced bass player, Bobby Heathcote, who passed away. Bob replaced bass legend, Louichi Mayorga. Before all this, I had a band called Oblivion, which was a backyard party band and we used to play everything from Van Halen to Rush to Black Sabbath and Ozzy’s solo music. That was a trip because then I ended up playing for Ozzy, when I left Suicidal Tendencies in 1996. One of the craziest stories I remember was when Suicidal Tendencies was opening for Metallica at the Velodrome in Cal State Dominguez. It was this big show and we had all our friends there. Jay Adams was there and Jason Brown and Joker and all the local hood rats were there representing. At some point, Jason Brown and Jay Adams got in the Metallica dressing room and hijacked all the liquor. Jay had his drink on and it was classic. Later, behind the stage, there was this steep ledge with these stairs. It was a dirt cliff, and you could carefully run down it, but it was complicated. Our friend Aladdin, better known as Sarsippius, stood at the top of the drop. He was a great rock climber mountain man and also a bit of a daredevil, and he ran down this steep ledge. Most people wouldn’t do that. Aladdin was like, “Check this out.” He ran down and to the bottom and put his hands in the air like, “What’s up?” Jay is standing up at the top and he puts his hands up in the air like, “Watch this!” Then Jay rolled down headfirst, and somersaulted all the way down to the base of the hill. When he got up to raise his hands in the air, he was bleeding all over his face. He had completely ripped his face apart and he was smiling with blood dripping down into his mouth. He was like, “What’s up!” Everybody clapped. You can imagine what it was like that afternoon having stolen Metallica’s liquor and dodging security and the antics of Jay Adams somersaulting down this steep cliff, to show up Sarsippius. It was just a chaotic party time with the Venice contingent at a Metallica show. That was a great memory. 

Did you ever get to skate or surf with Jay Adams and those cats?

I surfed with them when I was younger at the Venice Breakwater. I was intrigued because Jay had this camouflage wetsuit and he had a shaved head with this zipper tattoo and he ripped. I was probably 16 at the time. I used to see Mike Pakum ripping and all these local pros. I would be out in Santa Monica with people like John McClure and Dan McClure. I would go out with Natas Kaupas brother, Jules, too. We both used to work at Perry’s Pizza on Bay Street making pizzas. I used to roll dough and I’ve got burns on my arms from years of making pizzas at Perry’s. Those are great memories. I grew up with Jesse Martinez and Tonan, and I would surf with Christian Fletcher. Zephyr’s dad, Donny Wilson, is another pro surfer, that I surfed with. I skated back in the day too, but I was never as good as Jay or Hosoi. There was mutual respect though from those guys because I was in Suicidal. 

Well, you were creating the soundtrack to skateboarding playing with Suicidal. 

Oh yeah. I remember hanging out at Steve Ogan’s place before I was in Suicidal. Steve Ogan saw me playing at Gazzarri’s, which became the Key Club, on Sunset when I was 16. These guys used to stay at his house and have parties. I remember the story about Billy Yeron and Tony Alva brawling over a chick in Steve’s living room. Ogan was like, “Get out of my house. Take it out to the porch.” All of a sudden, he’s brawling with Billy Yeron just to protect his house. They were beating up Tony Alva, but then Steve Ogan got involved and these guys were all friends. At the time, I was just a teenager and I was more of a shy person who just played bass. I was a mediocre surfer and a horrible skater, but it was part of my DNA from my dad living there. I used to be a busboy at a jazz restaurant cafe with live music called the Comeback Inn on West Washington Blvd, which is now Abbot Kinney. Next door to the Comeback Inn, was the Pagoda where the Muir brothers lived and there was a surf shop called Cahill Surf. Mike Muir and the Suicidal guys would point their speakers at the garden where they had Sunday afternoon live New Age music at the Comeback Inn. Suicidal Tendencies would be screaming profanities over their PA system, so there were neighborhood wars with the owner of the Comeback Inn. He would roll into Suicidal rehearsals and complain without knocking. He would just walk in their kitchen and tell them to turn it down. Suicidal would do the same to him and it was this back and forth. This was during Suicidal Tendencies earliest incarnation where they used to rehearse in the kitchen of the Pagoda. My week-day job was working at Burger King and my weekend job was working at the Comeback Inn bussing tables, so I was kinda in between this war between the vegetarians and the punk rockers. It was the New Age jazz people versus the carnivorous punkers. Suicidal Tendencies started over there in the kitchen of the Pagoda, way before Streets of Venice, which is where I auditioned for Suicidal in 1989, on Lincoln Blvd. That’s a lot of history. 

“When everybody is firing on all cylinders in a positive spirit, it’s very special. It’s amazing when you create a body of music and you’re riding that wave together. You know you’ve got something special and then you hear it on the radio.”

Wow. Well, a lot has happened since then.  Congratulations on 20 years in Metallica.

Well, thank you. I appreciate that. 

In the last 20 years, what have you learned from each of the guys in Metallica?

That’s a great question. Each member of Metallica is completely different and unique and special. I don’t always like to use this word because it sounds kinda pompous, but they are geniuses in their own way. They’re not perfect. Nobody is. There are these imperfections about them, but there are also these bits of perfection. Lars is a really solid drummer, groovemeister, and he’s always thinking on many levels. He’s thinking about the business of Metallica but he’s also thinking creatively of what transitions or bits and pieces can be in a song. I’m very thankful for Lars because he has helped me become better in certain ways. When Kirk and I were doing our duets, he would say, “I need you guys to go out there for two and a half minutes.” In those two and half minutes, we started to play songs in different cities and countries celebrating an artist. In France, we played a song by Johnny Hallyday called “Ma Gueule”. Johnny Hallyday was like the Elvis Presley of Paris so, of course, 85,000 people are singing along. It’s just Kirk and I on stage in France, and I’m singing in French. We did the same thing in Moscow and Romania and Germany. It became a thing and I’m grateful because, if Lars hadn’t ask me to do it, it would have never happened.” It helped me grow as a musician and it helped Kirk grow as a player as well. I’m grateful for the challenges that Lars has presented me. James is the ultimate composer and riff writer. He is the ultimate everything when it comes to a rock song. He’s so talented. He’s always looking out for me in the creative circle of the band, so I’m grateful for him. Then Kirk, that’s my brother. He’s my surf buddy. We spend time here in Venice and he is really like a brother. We grew up in similar situations and we love the same types of music and we love playing music live, so there is a lot of bonding and connection there. The ocean is a powerful thing and it really brings people together. 

Let’s get to that. How does surfing play into your musical journey?

Surfing is very important because it’s very rhythmic and there is flow involved, and it’s a great space for creativity. I’ll be out by myself having a surf session, up at County Line, and I will start playing a beat on my board. I’m influenced by natural surroundings and I use the board as a percussive instrument, or I will hit the water and it has percussive elements. 

Did you get Kirk into surfing?

Kirk was into surfing before I surfed with him. When I first met him, he was the guy that was going to bed at 6AM. Now he’s the guy getting up at 6AM to do yoga and get in the water over in Hawaii. He has found his passion in surfing. 

When you tour, do you ever try to plan around going to spots where there is surf?

Absolutely. When we go to France, we love hanging out in Biarritz. It has great waves, and it reminds me of Malibu. It’s got a certain aesthetic with its old, beautiful architecture. There is a Basque influence to everything in Biarritz because it sits on the border between France and Spain. You have Basque food and the wine is great, so you’re having this great culinary experience, and then you have great waves and the beaches are cleaner than they are here. Then there is Australia where we hang out with our buddies there who are pros and ex-pros and they take us around and we get waves. Even at hardcore breaks like Bells, we’ve got guys blocking for us so we can get our waves. We have surfed in Indonesia, Japan, Brazil and New Zealand. We have surfed all around the world. Kirk surfed in Hong Kong too. 

What if you get hurt out snowboarding or surfing or skateboarding? 

When I used to snowboard all the time, Mike Muir would trip out. I was obsessed with snowboarding so, if there was a day off in Germany or Switzerland or France, I would take a train to go snowboarding. I would call Mike and go, “Everything is cool and I’m on the next train. I’m going through Italy right now.” It’s mind boggling how confusing that all is. You’re in Switzerland and you’re going through Italy to get back to the gig by soundcheck and you’re crossing all these borders. Sometimes I would miss a train, but, luckily, I was close enough to get back in time. I stopped snowboarding when I joined Metallica    and focused more on surfing. I might be a bit less reckless than Kirk. We were in London and Kirk took a side trip with a few friends and met them in France and he caught a beautiful 20-foot wave. At the end of the drop, he got wrapped up with this other surfer. He made the wave and it was beautiful because it was the biggest wave he caught, and part of me was so excited for him. The other part was like, “He was only two feet from missing a show.” Kirk is a wild man. He’s got a surfer skater mentality. 

Did it all start when there were things happening like James skateboarding?

Yeah. That is Metallica. Ozzy was telling me how he was on the tour bus and looked out the window and he sees James bombing a hill on a skateboard. All of a sudden, James eats shit and breaks his arm. They had to bring in another guitar player to finish the tour. It happened with some motocross incidents too. Fortunately, we have gotten more responsible with age, but you never know what could happen. 

“It’s all in the fingers. I’m feeling every note. There is a certain feel to it when you’re hitting the strings and how much pressure you apply according to what you’re feeling in your heart and soul. It’s similar to grinding a pool.”

Speaking of Ozzy, congratulations on the Grammy for Best Rock Album for Patient Number 9, which you co-wrote. What was it like to reconnect with Ozzy?

With Ozzy, things always happen in weird magical ways. When I first joined Ozzy’s band in 1996, Ozzy had been in the studio recording No More Tears, and Infectious Grooves was in the studio recording The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move, It’s the Infectious Grooves. We were sharing the same complex, and he recorded the song “Therapy”, which was a dream for all of us in Infectious Grooves. Then Ozzy would be hanging out with us in the studio, and eluding his minders. He was like, “Can you play that song?” We’d play “Therapy” and he’d do this interpretive dance and his jewelry would be clanking with his cigarette in hand. Then he would ask, jokingly, “You got any beer? You got any weed?” I was like, “We don’t have that stuff here.” Then he’d go, “You guys are boring.” And we’d all start laughing. He wanted us to go on tour with him after that and we did a month with him and then he injured his foot so the tour got cancelled and I didn’t see him for three or four years. Then, for some reason, I was thinking about Ozzy and the Diary of a Madman album and I went and bought the CD because I was obsessed with hearing that album. I put that intro to “Over The Mountain” on my outgoing voicemail. Sharon’s assistant was calling me for the audition and she was like, “Oh my god, it’s “Over The Mountain”. I could hear her talking, so I picked up the phone. Now we jump ahead to three years ago and I’m in the car with Tye and we are going for a surf at County Line. I pull out this booklet of CDs and there is Diary of a Madman. I was like, “Tye, you have to hear the bass on this album.” We were listening to it and he was appreciating Bob Daisley’s bass work. Then we go for a surf and get out and I look at my phone and there is a message from the producer, Andrew Watt. He said, “I want to talk to you about playing on the album. Ozzy would love to have you.” I hadn’t listened to that album in years, and I played it for Tye and two hours later I’m getting a call to play on the new Ozzy record. It was so magical. I ended up co-writing that album for Ozzy and he was fortunate enough to win Best Metal Performance and Best Rock Album. As a team, we are part of that, me and Taylor Hawkins, rest in peace, the drummer, on a lot of those songs, and Chad Smith from the Chilis. We had a good time. It was during the pandemic and we created a bubble and 10 hours a day we would go and write and jam and it felt good. It was a great form of therapy. Then taking that energy of sparking those creative flames and getting into Metallica, it was like, “Let’s write. Let’s record. Let’s do this.” That was really impactful in terms of getting myself ready for that journey with Metallica. 

It’s interesting that you guys wrote the Metallica record during the pandemic.

Yeah. One of the things with Metallica is that we have a tuning room, which is a creative safe haven for every city and every show. James Hetfield and, Kirk’s riffs and ideas can come from just turning a tuning knob or adjusting a tone level on a piece of equipment. You always have to have recording gear activated because these guys are always coming up with riffs. A lot of the new music for Metallica comes out of the tuning room. Of course, people have ideas and we bring that at a certain point, but so much comes out of the tuning room. 

Was it a virtual tuning room during COVID?

No. That goes back to shows from the last five or ten years. Lars is very organized as far as having a set up to check various ideas that have evolved from the tuning room. What ignited the creative flame under the 72 Seasons album was James. He sent us a piece of music called “Blackened 2020”, which was an acoustic version of this song “Blackened” off of …And Justice For All. He was like, “Hey, guys, check this out. Hopefully, you like it. Let me know. If you like it, please jam on it.” And we all did. That forced us to get our home studios running properly during the pandemic, which was new territory as far as technology. Luckily, our producer, Greg Fidelman, middle-managed all that. We worked on that piece of music and released it as a surprise, via Zoom, and that ignited the path to all of this new music. 

The new record is insane. “72 Seasons” is the first track and it feels like the bass line has some punk undertones to it. 

Yeah. “72 Seasons” is predominately a Kirk riff and it’s got that thrash ingredient that was so prominent in early Metallica and that’s what I love about it. I like that buzzsaw intro with the pick. You can hear it on the strings grinding and then it takes off running. It’s a song that has a really great middle section. There is this break and then you get the stabs and accents from the rhythm section from Lars and I and then it just starts to take off in that punky flavor. It’s definitely the perfect way to kick off this album. 

It talks about the wrath of man. What is your take on the wrath of man?

Well, lyrics are always open for interpretation and James is the king with lyrics. If you look back at your first 72 seasons, or your first 18 years, everyone has a story. Everybody has a high point and a low point, whether it’s your first love or first break up or the first wave you caught or the first bowl you skated or your first wipe out or the challenges of your family life. The wrath of man could be related to my dad. He was a supporter of my music, but he was a challenge in our everyday existence, but we are the best of friends now. The journey that you go through and the growth and path that you take from that is super valuable and important. 

“In France, we played a song by Johnny Hallyday called “Ma Gueule”. Johnny Hallyday was like the Elvis Presley of Paris so, of course, 85,000 people are singing along. It’s just Kirk and I on stage in France, and I’m singing in French.  We did the same thing in Moscow and Romania and Germany. It became a thing and I’m grateful because, if Lars hadn’t ask me to do it, it would have never happened.”

That song is intense. Then you have “Shadows Follow”, which sounds like the movie 300 in musical form where it’s like a battle fought every day and the enemy is always knocking. It’s almost theatrical. Do you ever envision movies in your head when you’re writing and playing songs?

That is incredible that you say that because every song on this album is cinematic to me 100%. I do that with everything I like. I close my eyes and the song takes me on a journey. One of the things about Metallica that I have always loved, is that you’ve got these intros, segues and breakdowns in the middle of the song. Each song is a cinematic statement on this album. The collaborative spirit of this record, and the fact that we made this during challenging times, every note is coming from the heart. 

“Screaming Suicide” talks about a heavy subject. How do you cope with chaos?

When things get difficult and complicated, you gotta dig deep and roll up your sleeves and take care of it. There is always going to be damage control and I gotta try to see the accident before it happens.

That’s such a Venice answer. That’s dope. 

It is. Coming from Venice, you always have that in front of you, and damage control is a very important outlet. You gotta see shit coming because anything can happen. One of the things in Metallica, is my role is not just as a bass player. To be in this band, you’ve got to also help your brothers. You’ve got to find the balance in everyone’s personalities and how to keep things creative. I have to ask myself, “How can I make this work better? How can I contribute? Am I contributing with creativity or am I just focused on playing bass to support the song?” We all try to help each other as best we can. In every band, you’re going to have challenging moments. The idea is that you work through them. It’s not always peaches and cream. The journey can be complicated. It’s deciding on videos. It’s deciding on parts of songs. It could be anything like making decisions on artwork and having different points of view. There’s a lot of things and I always try to create some logic and peace. Sometimes I throw out an idea to no response. Sometimes, it’s like, “Great point.” I love what we do and there is nothing like being on stage with these guys and having it all come together. The fans are amazing. Metallica fans are extended family and they are important to us. The reason we have been here as long as we have is because of them. 

You guys open your life to them. Some Kind of Monster is when you came into the band. 

Yes. That was a huge statement. That film was gutsy. 

Yes. Okay, the next song on the album is “Sleepwalk My Life Away”, and this song has a jazz improv feel in your bass playing. What was your intent with this track?

For me, the intro was centered around a jam. There is this funky pulse and Lars is doing his thing with a tribal feel. That’s something that happens on the floor and then you build on it and then here comes James with the tension chords. James Hetfield and Jerry Cantrell write the best tension chords. They’re dark and really powerful and it brings awareness that something cool is about to happen. Then it gets into that groove where you’re riding a motorcycle on the Pacific Coast Highway with the sun in your hair. Then that middle jam is the riff that just exudes Sabbath. There is a lot of Sabbath being exuded on this record. It’s really groovy. Again, that moment in the song that is really nasty happens on the floor. We were doing things via Zoom and, all of a sudden, we have that moment where it’s like, “Wow. We are together. We can jam and see each other in person.” That’s where you fine tune things and the magic evolves to a different level.

Sick. With the next song, “Lux Æterna”, there are so many things to dive into. 

Well, I’ll tell you about this song. This is Lemmy. This is Motorhead. For me, as a bass player, it is the most physical song that I play. It’s just relentless. When we first rehearsed it, we hadn’t played in a while and physically I wasn’t quite warmed up, so I tried to cheat and play with a pick and our producer got on the intercom and said, “Robert, are you playing with a pick?” He busted me. [laughs] I stretched out a little bit and said, “Okay, I’m ready now.” It feels like the most straight-ahead song on the album but, for me, it is one of the more physical ones. 

It’s the shortest song on the album. 

It is the shortest one, thank god! [laughs]

“Right at that moment I had my radio on and it was Rodney Bingenheimer from KROQ and he said, “I got the new single from Suicidal Tendencies. It’s called “War Inside My Head”. All of a sudden, I’m hearing this song that Rocky helped write. It was all happening as I’m driving 60MPH on the back streets of Chinatown, hearing “War Inside My Head”.”

On “Crown of Barbed Wire”, did you use an effects pedal to bend the notes on that?

No. It’s all in the fingers. I’m feeling every note. There is a certain feel to it when you’re hitting the strings and how much pressure you apply according to what you’re feeling in your heart and soul. It’s similar to grinding a pool. Juice is Pools, Pipes & Punk Rock and skateboarding, and it’s like going for a grind. You’re grinding on the fret when you’re hitting a note and you feel it. It’s funny because the intro almost sounds like the CD is skipping. It’s got the bending and repetitive groove chaos, then it just takes off. There is a lot of shifting gears. “Crown of Barbed Wire” is another Kirk-fueled groove. 

There is a theory that every thorn on a crown is something that is earned from an experience that you didn’t heal from. What thorn would you remove from your crown of barbed wire? 

Well, I am always trying to improve and grow and be the best person I can. I am so grateful for that because I look back at some things that I did and how I may have weasled my way through situations. What I learned in recent times is that power is what you make of it. I’ve seen people wield power based on success, especially in the industry. I was looking at it almost from the outside looking in, as an older dude, and seeing this journey that other people are having. I feel like an old soul when it comes to that. Money and power is not everything. I believe in friendship and trust. Fortunately, for us, as creative individuals, it doesn’t just have to be music. It could be art, writing, painting or photography. Ultimately, you could be the poorest dude ever and you have that body of work. That is something that lives on. The money doesn’t live on, but that body of work can live on and the statements you make from your heart creatively. That’s what is important. 

That’s one of my favorite things about you. Metallica is a huge machine, but you stay humble when it comes to your life. 

Yeah. It’s funny because Metallica is a machine but it has an authentic recipe of where it comes from. Even though there were major labels attached along the journey, Metallica has always done what      Metallica wants to do from the heart, which includes making an album with Lou Reed or playing with      orchestras. Maybe it’s things Metallica that wasn’t supposed to do, but you try things to be different when you can. One of the most amazing things about this band is it seems like a big machine, but it’s like we are four dudes back in the garage. 

That’s the sickest part. “Chasing Light” is a song on the new album that seems to play with the notion of a letter to your younger self. If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Be patient and strong. The most important thing I tell my kids is that, whatever you’re doing, do it with pride and passion and give it your all. 

Good advice. On “If Darkness Had a Son”, what zone were you in? 

[laughs] I always equate my journey to surfing with the rhythm and flow and the wipeouts and all that stuff. Groove is essential in this band. Metallica has a very special common thread in all of these songs. We just try to groove as hard as possible. It’s what I take pride in. The groove aspect is always going to be the ultimate ingredient for me. 

I love that next song “Too Far Gone?”

I like the punk flavor to it. That song has a lot of feel good moments in it. It has the feel of Venice Beach. I like James’ hammer on approach in that riff, and how he’s hitting the two notes and keeping the flow. That riff really does carry the song. 

“Inamorata” is the last song. 

That is the last song and it’s the shortest 11-minute song that we’ve ever created. I love the breakdown and how it builds from raw bare nakedness of the bass and the high hat. When I was tracking it, I closed my eyes and I was taking myself to another place. I put a lot of focus into that bass breakdown. “Inamorata” and “You Must Burn!” are my favorite songs on that record. “You Must Burn!” also has a powerful middle section. It’s got this swagger, but there is this scariness to it. I envision stop-motion as Nosferatu enters the room. “Inamorata” also speaks to the title and takes you on a really beautiful dynamic journey. I love how Kirk and James are communicating through their guitars and it’s got flow, power and beauty in it all at once. 

What’s your favorite part of being in Metallica?

I love everything. I love the fans and the music. When I was in Suicidal Tendencies back in 1989, my main go-to cassette tapes in my Walkman when I was running in the Santa Monica Mountains was Ride The Lightning. I also had Slayer in there too, Reign in Blood. That was motiving me for tours and getting me fired up. Metallica was a soundtrack to those years of my life when I was getting into this style of music, and it’s a crazy dream come true to be here. When I was in Suicidal Tendencies, it was a dream to open for Metallica, during the Black album. To be here now doing this interview with you after being in Metallica for 20 years, it’s so cool. I joined the band with no family, and now I have two amazing kids. Tye is 18 and Lullah is 16 and she is playing drums, and making great art. Chloe is having her creative magic carpet ride in life and she seems very happy too. At the end of the day, I just want to see everyone     smiling and having a good time and being healthy. 

When you went from listening to Metallica on your Walkman to playing in Metallica, did you any “What the fuck!” moments? 

Oh yeah. That goes back to Ozzy too when I was playing “Iron Man” at backyard parties on the West Side, and then, all of a sudden, I’m on stage with them, second gig in, in Vegas and we’re playing “Iron Man” and I start getting lower and lower. He gets lower and lower and the next thing you know we are both doing this crab walk thing. That’s how that was created. Imagine what that’s like. I was like, “I used to play this song with my friends!” I used to play “YYZ” by Rush at backyard parties too, and now I’m hanging out in the hood with Geddy Lee. With Metallica, being able to play “Battery” with them was a dream come true. I had a lot of pride in learning that song before I ever joined the band. When they asked me to play a few songs for them, I was like, “I’m going to throw “Battery” at them. 

I watched Some Kind of Monster before you came over and saw when you played  “Battery” for the audition. It looked like you’d been in the band for years. What was the first show you ever went to as a kid?

The first show I went to was at the LA Forum and it was a show featuring the band Wild Cherry. “Play That Funky Music White Boy” was their big hit and the headliner was The Isley Brothers who are still one of my favorite bands. They are great songwriters as well. That was the Go For Your Guns tour. I saw War back then too, “Low Rider” and “Cisco Kid”. I saw Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of cool bands. 

What is a band you wish you saw?

I didn’t get to see Led Zeppelin. I begged my mom and her boyfriend back then, but I never got to see them. They played the Sports Arena and they had a big double page ad with the blimp.

Best album cover art?

There are different styles, but Raymond Pettibon art, Black Flag album covers, is always off the hook. I also loved the Suicidal Tendencies album covers with artwork by Mike Seiff. He did Excel’s The Joke’s On You, too. I loved the art Adam Seigel did for Infectious Grooves. Pushead did the best art ever in terms of illustrations. I also love conceptual album art, like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. If you get on that subject, we are gonna be here all day. [laughs] 

Okay, what is the favorite show you have played so far with Metallica?

There have been so many highlights, but I would say that a lot of them were on the last tour cycle we did in Europe playing sold out stadiums. The duets that I was doing with Kirk were a highlight of my career because it was difficult putting those together. I felt like, as a band, we were really locked. The Florida show that we played celebrating Jonny and Marsha Zazula who were the first managers for Metallica was fun. We played a set of music that was written and recorded from that time period, so we were playing “Am I Evil?” and “Phantom Lord” and a bunch of Kill Em All tracks. That was badass. 

Nice. Best sticker you ever saw?

I love the Dogtown sticker. It’s a classic. I love Zephyr too, but Dogtown will always resonate as a statement image in my life. 


Follow Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »