When Robert Trujillo joined Metallica, he faced the immense challenge of not just fitting into one of the most iconic bands in metal history, but mastering a role that many bassists would find daunting. Trujillo, who has been with Metallica for over two decades, recently opened up about the unique difficulties he encountered in an interview with Bass Player.

Reflecting on the period when he joined the band, Trujillo noted, “I feel like I’ve had so many challenges. You know, I live in Los Angeles, but since I joined the band I’ve been spending more time in the Bay Area, and I actually really like it. Los Angeles has become so overpopulated and blown out. San Francisco has such a nice balance, almost like a funky ’70s flavor to it. The way LA used to be back in the Cheech & Chong days!”

However, his greatest hurdle wasn’t geographical adjustment but the bass playing itself. “The biggest challenge has been with my bass playing. I’m not being disrespectful to all the bass players out there, but there aren’t many bassists that could do this job. Playing with Metallica is the most demanding gig there is.”

Despite the difficulties, Trujillo holds deep respect for his predecessors, acknowledging their profound impact on the band’s legacy. Speaking about Cliff Burton, he said, “Cliff was amazing for Metallica. His ideas, his presence, and where he was taking the bass and taking metal, were so special. And his stage presence – he was such a physical player. He played what he felt, and that was the bottom line. His approach was, ‘I’m gonna play what I feel, and if you don’t like it, screw you!'”

Trujillo also praised Burton’s innovative spirit: “He used to ask Kirk to show him Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solos so he could play them on bass, and not many bass guitar players were doing that back then. I thought that was so cool. Cliff was a force on a lot of different levels.”

Jason Newsted, Burton‘s successor, also earned Trujillo‘s admiration. “I really appreciate Jason Newsted. Considering he’s a pick player, and the speed and dexterity involved in this music, I think it’s a tall order. But he was really keeping it and holding it down, keeping it solid – more simple than Cliff, but in a good way.”

In conclusion, Trujillo embraces the uniqueness each bassist has brought to Metallica. “I love the fact that we’re all different. We all have our thing that we’ve brought to the band, but I also have my own style and I like to express that.”

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