Rob Trujillo: 'James Hetfield's Throwaway Riff Will be Another Band's Greatest'

"We're blessed in that way," says Metallica bassist.

Ultimate Guitar

Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo recently praised frontman James Hetfield's riff-writing skills, naming copious amounts of available riffs as somewhat of a problem when it comes to new record.

"Our - if you want to call it a problem is [that] we've got so many ideas and so many riffs and that's why if you listen to some of these albums there's so much going on, cause we've gotta put them in a song," Trujillo told prior to band's first ever Malaysia performance last Wednesday (August 21).

"I mean James Hetfield - his throwaway riff will be another band's greatest song [or] riff, so we're blessed in that way," he added. "And we have a lot of fun doing what we do."

The bassist also reached the subject of advice he has for younger generations, naming versatility and open-minded approach to music as some of the key factors.

"I believe that the younger generation - if they embrace everything from genuine punk rock to thrash - blues bands, soul music, funk music, James Brown. You can listen to Slayer and James Brown, that's what I do. I love both and that's what it's all about. Play with your fingers, play with a pick, enjoy, have fun doing it."

Metallica is hoping to enter studio in 2014 and have the new album out in 2015. The four-piece is currently giving their primary focus to the upcoming "Through the Never" 3D movie IMAX theaters premiere scheduled for September 27.

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82 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I don't get why so many people dislike Rob as a bassist, usually spouting "OHH URRR HE'LL NEVER BE CLIFF OR JASON DOYYYYY" Well no shit, he's never going to be Cliff or Jason, but each bassist brings something new to the table (oh god no I said *that* word) and they've all done a good job. He contributed to Death Magnetic and I absolutely loved that album. I think he deserves the whatever recognition he gets as a good bassist, he's a cool lad.
    If Rob ever leaves, the only thing you'll hear/read is "(new bassist) will never be able to live up to Cliff, Jason or Rob. #RIP METALLICA #yoloswag"
    Jacques Nel
    Agreed. And it seems he's also here to stay so people should get used to him if they've not done so yet. I personally like what he's doing.
    Really? People call out for Jason? As much as I liked Jason, Ive never met a fan who preferred him to Rob, only Cliff was the untouchable within the Metallica fanbase. These fans must be teenagers I guess. Rob is a BEAST as a bassist and stage presence.
    I much prefer Jason to Rob. Nothing against Rob, he's a brilliant bassist, but Jason had something more. Jason had more of a presence on the stage in my opinion....
    I've only seen Jason on video but seen Rob twice live and it's almost as if Metallica isn't as Epic as they were before Rob, Rob does thrash pretty hard and I love how he downtunes his bass until the string falls off.
    It's actually pretty amusing. While Jason was a member, everyone said "waaahhh, he'll never live up to Cliff!" Now that Rob's a member, everyone says "waaahhh, he'll never live up to Jason!" Whatever, can't please everyone. I just hope the next album has a larger bass sound/presence (though I do love DM).
    Exactly what I was thinking. Jason is just a better backup vocalist than Rob. And I remember the days when everyone was on Jasons ass no matter how well he did. And the thing is he never had as much stage presence as Rob with his tarantula walk (and also a much more accomplished bassist), Jason used to run like a maniac only up until the Black Album Tour. At the end Jason became my favourite member cause he was never about the money.
    why the hell do people care who the bassist in metallica is anyway? i havent really heard anything amazing from the bass section since around the master of puppets album. after that, i can hardly hear the bass much less feel any real groove in it.
    Jacques Nel
    James has amazing riffs, but why should too much be a problem? Just bring out more songs per album. Really, I don't see why they can't incorporate them into more tracks, just call them 'bonus tracks' like everyone else does with the ones they don't think lives up to the standard.
    Ummmm, isn't that what they just did with Death Magnetic and Beyond Death Magnetic?
    Jacques Nel
    ...and personally, a lot of the times some of the 'bonus tracks' end up being my favorites.
    I agree with you there. Often times I really like the other album tracks than what is realeased as singles/video, etc. I am looking forward to what they do next, as DM was a def step in the right direction again. I liked the Load/Reload albums, but it just wasn't quite the Metallica I loved. Good, just different.
    Jacques Nel
    At least, unlike bands like Linkin Park, Metallica always return to their roots. St Anger was also not amazing. But as you said DM was a solid album. I'm sure the next one will be as well, especially seeing as it's been so long since they've released DM.
    Jacques Nel
    Yes...but I'm responding to this guy's claim that having too many riffs is a problem. I'm not saying they never do that.
    The reason why its a problem is, for example, if you were shown 10 hot chicks and had to choose ONE to date, you're going to have a hard time choosing. On the otherside of the coin, if you decided one wasn't enough and you wanted to have all TEN, you're going to have to find room in your life for each of them or you'll just lose all of them.
    I rather have a album with few GREAT songs, than an garbage can full of shit
    They can also do a "Load" and "Re-load" type of thing again. No sense in not using a riff, especially if it's good. Just make more songs and albums.
    To be honest, I think they should go back to that style of music. Metallica just don't have that thrashiness to them anymore. They should just right whatever the hell they want (as long as it's good) without being pressured into a certain direction. A double album would be sick too (can't complain about more Metallica songs). Metallica have reached a point in their career where no matter what they release, they'll make more fans than they'll lose.
    Careful...I'm pretty sure they actually lost fans after they released their collaboration album.
    Or maybe make a double album of great riffs. Either a gargantuan The Wall-style album in two pieces, or two separate pieces, a la SOAD's Mezmerize/Hypnotize. I've always wanted a Metallica double album.
    Load and Reload? Have you been under a rock or something?
    They can't exactly do that because the cd can hold so much, so they need to be really picky to choose the best of the best, and that, is what becomes a Really time-consuming problem.
    I find it hard to not like Rob or James; both seem like such down to earth guys, and both are such brilliant musicians. I struggle to think of many better rhythm guitarist/bassist duos at the moment.
    Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush are pretty great. Alex has to be the most under-appreciated guitarist ever, IMO
    Dav Mustang & Davyd Elfson
    I'm no expert on Megadeth, but I imagine this comment is debatable.
    You may have hundreds of riffs, but making a song isn't as simple as picking the best / most badass-sounding riff of the lot. If you have lots of riffs lying around and do a pretty-much cut-and-paste job of writing songs, then it's going to be pretty shabby come the end. I sincerely hope their latest efforts aren't going to turn up such a result.
    I agree. You don't write songs by just first writing lots of riffs and then seeing which of them fit together the best. When I write songs, I start with one idea and then come up with another idea that fits the first idea and so on. I don't write out of context riffs and try if they fit the song. The parts need to have something in common.
    All aboard the hype train! Does Hetfield actually have that many great riffs? Maybe, maybe not. But all I know is that the large majority of the songs they leave off the album probably aren't the greatest. I mean, why else would The Unforgiven 3 make it onto DM?
    Too many? I hope they will use them eventually :B There were some good ones on Death Magnetic, but saying too many is kind of an exaggeration
    Jacques Nel
    Maybe they should save them up, you know write like another 20 or 30 albums at once. Won't have to work hard for a while. Or they could have these for when they eventually disappear.
    Exactly. I actually don't like albums with too many songs and songs with too many riffs. Not every riff you come up with needs to be used on the new album. You can save the riffs and use them on later albums. But I think Rob is more like talking about riffs used in the same song (not sure though). If you have ten awesome riffs that would all fit the next part of the song perfectly, it's hard to choose. A riff that fits one song may not fit another song. But yeah, what I would do is save the riffs and use for some other album or some other project or maybe even sell them. No need to throw them away.
    James can write some amazing riffs, I love every Metallica album and even some riffs on St Anger are memorable(at least to me)like Frantic, St Anger, The unnamed Feeling and Sweet Amber.
    If this is true why wasn't death magnetic a better album?
    Its an unpopular opinion but I agree. While DM had ALLOT of riffs with some of them being really cool, they weren't as dynamic and memorable as some of their stuff on RTL, MOP and AJFA. I think its mostly because allot of them didn't flow well with each other and the piss-poor guitar tone they used didn't help. The plus side though is that James has been sounding incredible lately. He's got his legendary rasp back so I hope they'll use it on the next album
    Yes! My thoughts exactly! I found that the problem with the riffs in DM is that they're way too technical. Metallica NEVER wrote technical riffs, it's not their style (that's what differentiates them from progressive metal bands)! I love the old albums, the Load albums and St. Anger as well and I have no problem in them returning to their roots, it's just that they didn't actually do that in DM. If people listen to DM carefully (while ignoring that it's Thrash Metal because of the speed), they'll see that it is in fact something completely new for Metallica, something they NEVER did before, and it really really doesn't suit them.
    I never thought DM sounded like old Metallica. It definitely sounded like something new. And I didn't really like it either. I know people say it sounds like RTL or Puppets, but it doesn't. I just don't find that many similarities. I don't know what it is but it sounds really different. I think their songwriting has changed a bit. And the production of that album was terrible. But I think Metallica is great because all their albums sound really different. They have always done something new. Though I think it would be cool if they could do another Kill 'Em All record. I would like to hear the same attitude and rawness. Only really fast songs and pretty simple song structures and simple in your face riffs and solos. Though I think it wouldn't sound that great because it would sound too good - they would over produce it, or at least produce it.
    You're expecting a band to sound in 2010 like they did in 1986? After so much they've been through? Come on, human beings are not stoic.
    I'm definitely not expecting them to sound like they did in 1986 but they could have sounded allot better than they did with DM. There's no excuse for the poor production with modern recording techniques and the amount of high end gear that they have. I also do think its possible for older bands to make great records in modern times take Endgame, Worship Music or Dark Roots of the Earth for example. I'm more optimistic about the next one though, hopefully they'll learn from some of their mistakes
    I didn't care much for the riffs on that album so I was wondering the same thing. Maybe they should just write two albums and then release them separate so that way they could do whatever else they want (touring all over the world, making movies, etc.) and not have to worry about ppl bitching about not having a new album.
    I'm getting a little tired of them talking about the army of riffs they have built up. Just ****ing put them on an album already.
    "I mean James Hetfield - his throwaway riff will be another band's greatest song (or) riff" I don't think St. Anger would be anybody's greatest song.
    They might have hundreds of riffs but then comes the idea "behind" the record. Should it be fast, slower with more rock, how should we take it to the next step (something we have not done yet). I think Metallica is very focused on finding new style, new direction. I remember a tv series, the history of rock (or something similar). The reporter asked Lars why the let down with the black album (compared to the 3 first records, as himself a hard core fan). Lars replied that they do not want to copy the same record and copying that would not give them the fame they have today. So to speak, riffs yes but what next?
    dude shut up about your ****ing album and just write it. The fans will be the one that will determine if it's great or not
    OK we know you can write great riffs, try working on your lyrics now
    And I wish Talllica would do a trash album, just to get back to the trash roots (a la ride the lightning etc). Like back on the old days but I know it will never happen again :
    OK, so a guy can do riffs well after 30+ years of playing guitar at a top level. What's the WOW-news factor in this? Maybe the title should have been "Metallica album in 2015" instead.