Rob Trujillo Speaks Up on Making His Singing Debut on Metallica’s New Album, Admits He Was ’Nervous’ About It

Recently, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo sat down with Metallica fanzine So What! to discuss the band’s upcoming album “72 Seasons.” Announced in late 2022, it turns out that the record will include some vocal parts by Trujillo, as revealed in the new interview. This also marks Rob’s first-ever vocal performance on a studio album by Metallica.

The talk about this came up when he was asked about the issue of trust in the band after all this time in the lineup. He replied:

“Well, it’s a great question, because there is trust, but there’s also respect. And sometimes – and this happens in any band – you get comfortable with each other. None of us are perfect. We have our moods. Something in your personal life can affect your performance when you’re trying to create or you’re trying to rehearse, and you bring that onto the floor.”

“We’re all guilty of that; each member of Metallica will tell you that. And sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass. But the bottom line is, when that happens, there’s respect. We never lose our cool. There are no fights here anymore. We understand what we need to do as brothers in the family, but also as team members. We know what we need to do for the music. We all know our strengths and our weaknesses.”

Discussing this further, Rob then brought up the fact that he ended up making his singing debut on the new album “72 Seasons.” And, according to the source, it’s on the song titled “You Must Burn!” which is reportedly the fifth track on the record. He continued:

“When I joined Metallica, I’d never sung in my whole life, so the fact that I can now support a backup vocal is pretty cool. For the first time in my life, I get to sing on a Metallica record [‘You Must Burn’] and support James [Hetfield].”

“I’m very proud of that. So we’re getting better, we’re learning and still growing in this band right now, and the respect level is much higher. Oftentimes Lars calls me, sometimes he’s checking in or wants my opinion on something – same thing with Kirk. And I love that. I love the idea that there’s trust and respect.”

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Elsewhere during the interview, he was asked to circle back on the topic of singing on the new Metallica album to which he replied:

“It’s the first time that James [Hetfield] and Greg [Fidelman, co-producer] had probably ever really trusted me with that position on a recording of this stature. I was surprised when I got the call from Greg because I was coming up to play a little bass, but then he said, ‘I’m going to have you sing on a couple things, too.’ And I was like, ‘Really?’ I got a little nervous.”

“At the same time, I was very motivated. Fortunately for me, the part really does suit my comfort zone, so to speak. The vibe and the interesting – I don’t know, I wouldn’t say the ‘quality’ in what I had to offer – but the part lends itself to my personality, to my voice, and it sits and slots in really well with the moment and bass breakdown. So it’s cool that it’s this breakdown that James and I were able to jam on and create, and then I get to sing on it too!”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Rob was also asked about the album’s closing track “Inamorata” and its bass parts. Although the song still isn’t out for the public, those who reviewed it got an early glimpse of the piece, including the So What! zine. Anyhow, Rob said:

“I believe James had a vision of having this sort of Sabbath-y, ‘Geezer-esque‘ moment where the bass is sort of a naked moment, here’s this beautiful yet dark statement coming from the bass guitar. It feels raw, but at the same time, it’s got this dark beauty to it. And what I tried to do was really just close my eyes and channel every note.

“I say to people that that song reminds me of… it’s a cross between driving on Pacific Coast Highway in the sun in your convertible, a beautiful warm summer day, ocean to your right or your left, depending on what direction you’re going. It has that swagger to it; it’s just very cool. Nothing’s rushed. It’s just a beautiful drive on PCH and the California coast.

“And when it gets to the breakdown, it’s very strong and powerful, this raw, beautiful moment. So maybe the ocean is speaking, that’s what I see. I see waves, I see the power of the ocean, the sun, the coastline. And when it gets down to that breakdown, it’s just this raw, beautiful moment, and I was closing my eyes, channeling every note.

“I was trying to be somewhat melodic, but then I was trying to create enough space so that James could slide in there, and we could work together and communicate. It’s one of my favorite moments in Metallica.”

“You know, I think about the incredible statements that Cliff Burton was able to make with the songs that he was involved with. I feel that [we] obviously had hit a grand slam with ‘Inamorata.‘ It’s a cross between a beautiful old film with a really cool painting or something… it resonates ‘California.‘ There’s something that’s beautiful about it. It has a certain flavor and feel to me.”

Photo: Raph_PH (Metallica – The O2 – Sunday 22nd October 2017 MetallicaO2221017-12 (37187900124))

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.