Rob Trujillo Recalls What Lemmy Was Really Like, Explains How He ’Channeled’ Lemmy on New Metallica Album

While talking to Hot Press in a new interview, Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo looked back on the personal relationship that he had with Motörhead founder and leader Lemmy Kilmister. Although it wasn’t like they were super-close friends, they did collaborate on some occasions. Rob was reminded of Lemmy when he was asked about Dimebash in 2016 and how he played “Ace of Spades” at the event in honor of the legendary bassist who passed away a year before. He said:

“That was fun. Occasionally in a place like Los Angeles, you get the opportunity to jam with some of these fine musicians. Lemmy was a good friend to myself and a really good friend to my family; he was a sweetheart to my son. It was such a shame to lose him, at a time we were becoming a lot more friendly with him. We were developing a connection.

Talking more about Lemmy, Rob recalled one occasion when he spent more time with the Motörhead frontman. As he explains, it was one of those moments where Lemmy proved his “wise man” reputation. Rob continued:

“I remember him being in my car, because he was going to do a voiceover for an animated piece I’d put together. My car broke down, but he was cool. Basically, my car flooded and he goes, ‘It’s flooded!’ I couldn’t understand and I was getting nervous, cos I was pushing on the gas pedal. He was just sitting there calmly while I’m going, ‘I’ve got Lemmy in my car and it’s not starting!’”

“He went, ‘Let’s hang out for five minutes. It’ll start again, trust me.’ As we were outside, he was telling me the history of Hollywood. He’d point to a place across the street from his apartment and go, ‘Charlie Chaplin used to live there.’ Then point to another house and talk about how a famous actor used to own it.

Dimebash 2016 - Motörhead Ace of Spades - Dave Grohl, Phil Anselmo, Robert Trujillo, Dave Lombardo

“Eventually, he said, ‘Okay, let’s try it again’, and we get back in the car and it starts. He goes, ‘See, I told you – you flooded it!’ He was this wise man, but he was very cool. It’s a shame that he’s not with us, but his spirit lives on.

Apart from these fun little memories, Rob also said that he actually channeled Lemmy on Metallica’s new album “72 Seasons.” He admits that this wasn’t an easy task but he still pulled it off, explaining:

“In fact, I attribute the first single from ’72 Seasons’ to Lemmy. The bass is pedaling, but it’s relentless. On ‘Lux Aeterna’, I really did channel Lemmy – I was thinking about him when I was playing.”

Metallica: Lux Æterna (Official Music Video)

“But it was harder, because I was playing it with my fingers. I was going, ‘Okay Lemmy, this is for you’, and digging and digging. The bass and rhythm guitar are driving together, so it really controls the song. But I was definitely pulling from Lemmy.”

Reminded of how the Rainbow Bar in Los Angeles, California has the Lemmy Lounge, Rob said:

“I was at the Rainbow a few months ago. The scary thing is that the same people who were going there 30 years ago are still there. I’m not kidding. It’s kind of fun, but I’m going, ‘Oh my god, I remember that guy from when I was in Suicidal Tendencies!’”

Robert Trujillo Auditions for Metallica (HQ)

Elsewhere in the chat, Trujillo also remembered how the Covid pandemic and lockdowns affected Metallica. Asked about that period, as well as James Hetfield entering rehab back in 2019, Rob said:

“Obviously, in the beginning, having to work extra hard to create from afar was a challenge. But I believe the challenge helped propel the creative juices. When we actually got in a room together, we really appreciated and celebrated it – it just made the experience very special. I feel that’s an ingredient in this whole album: we went the extra mile to create this music.”

The album that we got this year, with the first taste coming late last year, was being worked on for quite some time. And, in some ways, we can say that it was a “pandemic baby” for Metallica since most of the creative process took place during this historically important period. Rob then added how both he and Kirk Hammett contributed creatively to a band that’s led by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield:

“Ideas are formulated over time and take shape from jams in various rehearsal rooms. I always say James Hetfield turns the volume knob up or tunes his guitar, and he’s coming up with an incredible riff.”

Metallica: Inamorata (Official Music Video)

“It’s the same with Kirk Hammett. You never know what you’re going to get, so we always have recording gear on-hand. But I think this album really kicked off with ‘Blackened 2020’, an acoustic version of ‘Blackened’ that James sent us as a surprise.”

“He said, ‘Check it out and tell me what you think.’ Our producer got involved and helped us get a creative flow going, which then evolved into us saying, ‘Let’s write some original songs and get to work.’ Lars started listening to riffs and putting things together, and that obviously had to happen from home – we had to re-ignite our home studios.”

Photos: Raph_PH (Metallica – The O2 – Sunday 22nd October 2017 MetallicaO2221017-12 (37187900124)), John Gullo (Lemmy Kilmister Motorhead in NYC by John Gullo)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.