Scott Iwasaki of Deseret News recently conducted an interview with METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On "Death Magnetic", Trujillo's first studio recording with the band:
"It was a wonderful experience. It was an eye-opener for me to see how this band works in the studio. First off, the work ethic is very strong. And I really felt like I was a part of the songwriting and recording of the album."
"It was interesting seeing Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] go at it and write songs. It was unreal."
On choosing the songs that made the final album:
"We butted heads on some of them. And we hated to see some go. One in particular we didn't include on the album because it wasn't finished. But I think it would have been the most brutal and hard song METALLICA has ever written."
"It's nice to see us embrace the metal again. And we had a bunch of music. That's why the songs are long again. What's more is, the band members agreed 90 percent of the time on the choice of songs for 'Death Magnetic', which, of course, is not congruent with the band's history."
On working with producer Rick Rubin:
"Rick and the band were all on the same plane. He guided us into writing songs we would do as if we were looking to sign a recording contract. It was like the beginning of our career.
"Rick knew what he was doing. There were times when he'd tell us to try something and it only made sense later. Sure, we wanted to punch him and jump on his back and pull his hair out sometimes, but he pushed us to write better songs."
On recording the album in Los Angeles as opposed to San Francisco:
"I personally thought that was good for the band. L.A. is gritty, hot and the studio is in an industrial area. There was no escape. That's different than recording in a place like northern California, where the air is cleaner and James' and Lars' houses are only a few minutes away. I think working in L.A. gave the album a meaner sound."
On the criticisms of the CD's stripped-down sound as opposed to the bigger mix used for music video games such as Guitar Hero III:
"The band members have creative control and they live in a bubble. They do what has to be done. And sometimes that isn't what fans want. But in other cases it is.
"METALLICA has made fans angry at times, but good or bad, the band has always piqued its fans' interest. The sound of 'Death Magnetic' will be on fans' minds for a few years. . . The band makes it interesting for the fans."
On the setlist for the current leg of the METALLICA tour:
"We change it every night. There are some we keep in all the time, but we want to play the new stuff because we're excited about it. And we will play some old stuff because fans know it. But I have noticed that the new stuff is going over well. The people know the lyrics, and it's been nice playing new stuff."
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