Enlarge Photo: Ralph Arvesen via Wikimedia Commons

Rob Trujillo Explains Metallica Songwriting Process, Says He Has a Stockpile of Riffs


Despite the fact that Metallica take their sweet time recording and releasing music these days, they go through a lot of ideas, according to bassist Rob Trujillo. In an interview with Bass Player, Trujillo told the interviewer that he and guitarist Kirk Hammett are riff machines.

“One of the beautiful things about being in Metallica is that there’s no shortage of great ideas. Our blessing is also a curse. We have more riffs than we know what to do with. With every handful of riffs we get out of Kirk, there’s another 500 we didn’t hear. I might have 10 spare ideas for every one I put forward, things that don’t even get listened to. So I have this arsenal of bass lines and riffs that I sit on.

“And it’s not that nobody wanted to listen to them – we just had enough. There comes a point where you don’t need any more. All of these songs have a lot of cool ideas in them. ‘Suicide & Redemption’ from ‘Death Magnetic,’ for instance, was a bass line that I had for a long time and I always had Metallica’s name written on that thing.”

He also said that he likes to jam with friends like Avenged Sevenfold drummer Brooks Wackerman, but he knows which ideas are earmarked specifically for Metallica.

“I remember jamming that one with some friends. At one point it was Brooks Wackerman, who plays in Avenged Sevenfold; we hang out a bit and occasionally record, and he was like, ‘Oh wait, what is that riff? It sounds really cool!’ And I said, ‘Oh no, this is for Metallica!’ I already knew it had Metallica’s name on it. The same goes for that power groove four minutes into ‘You Must Burn!’ – I had it already mapped out.

“It was something I’d been stewing up and working on because I envisioned it being something Metallica embracing. Things like that just happen. You just come across a part or riff and you just know it will sound larger than life when you hear the band playing on it, with Lars’ power grooves and James’ massive guitars.

“It’s a beautiful thing being in a band like this, beyond my wildest dreams, pulling together all these riffs to be played by such amazing musicians who each have their own signature. That’s a special thing for me. But the scary thing is that there’s always another 10 other riffs that didn’t make it to the drawing board… they’re just sitting there. It’s gotta be the best for Metallica.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to hear some of those jams with Wackerman.

Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits