“I love the fact we’re all different”: Robert Trujillo weighs on his Metallica predecessors Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted

“We all have our thing that we bring to the band.”

[L-R] Robert Trujillo, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted

Credit: Getty Images

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Robert Trujillo has shared his opinion on his predecessors in Metallica, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted.

Trujillo is Metallica’s longest-serving bassist, having put in a 21-year shift with the metal icons. That said, his years of playing the older songs written before he joined the band means he is intimately familiar with Burton and Newsted’s respective styles of playing.

During an interview on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk [via Blabbermouth], Trujillo explains why he thought it was good that he, Burton and Newsted all had such different styles, as each had their own unique strengths.

“It’s interesting because between Jason and Cliff, they’re very different players, and I think that’s great. I love the fact that we’re all different, we all have our thing that we bring to the band,” he says. “And, obviously, with Cliff, he was such an incredible musician. I mean, he was really a composer when it came to the instrument, in the same way that sort of a Jaco Pastorius or Stanley Clarke would’ve been a composer. They’re thinking about the song, but they’re also thinking about the voice of the instrument within the song and how to present it.”

Robert Trujilo
Robert Trujillo of Metallica perform Ford Field on November 10, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

He continues: “And sometimes that’s utilising distortion or overdrive or the wah pedal and being melodic with it. And I love that; that’s what I love about [Cliff]. And then you’ve got Jason who was really keeping it and holding it down, keeping it solid – a lot more simple, but in a good way. Definitely not in a pedestrian way; I would never say that. I think it’s just really solid.”

Trujillo goes on to say that even with two decades with Metallica under his belt, he’s still always learning. “Whether it’s Metallica, or playing in Ozzy’s band and recording with Ozzy, [or] working with Jerry Cantrell, which I’ve done on and off over the years, I just learned from every situation,” he says.

He adds that being part of Metallica remains a rewarding experience too, even after all this time, thanks to the musicianship of his bandmates.

“The songwriting is just always at the highest level, and working with Lars [Ulrich], James [Hetfield], and Kirk [Hammett], for 21 years, has been an incredible experience because they’re composers,” he explains. “And that’s special, when you can be in a band and work with people that love the art of songwriting.”

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