Being in a band isn’t as easy as it might seem to outsiders. And contrary to popular belief, being in a huge band with worldwide success is far more difficult and complicated. After all, we know about the guys from Metallica and all they’ve been through.
In a recent chat with guitarist Doc Coyle on The Ex-Man with Doc Coyle podcast, Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo recalled how things can sometimes get heated up between band members. At this point, we know them as pretty chill guys. But on the road, things can always get complicated.
Recalling those instances where different members can “bump heads,” Trujillo said (transcript via Blabbermouth):
“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.”
Fortunately, they were both mature about it and didn’t make much of the whole thing. As Trujillo adds:
“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 to all of the musicians who are working in band, or just people in various other professions, here’s a piece of advice from Rob:
“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.”
“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.”
Photo: Raph_PH (Metallica – The O2 – Sunday 22nd October 2017 MetallicaO2221017-80 (37897471331)), DoD News Features (James Hetfield (2) – Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Nov. 11, 2014)