Robert Trujillo Discusses His Role as Mediator in Metallica
Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo discussed his role as mediator between co-founders James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, and explained why he seemed to play a similar role in most of the bands he’s been in.
Trujillo replaced Jason Newsted in 2003 after an acrimonious episode in 2001 that was depicted in the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster. The movie also showed the band members hiring “performance coach” Phil Towle to help them with their relationship issues, a move that eventually lead to its own controversial moments as Towle’s influence increased.
In a recent interview with SVT (translated by Google), which took place around Metallica’s receipt of Sweden’s Polar Prize last week, Trujillo said “it's possible that the band would not exist today if it were not for the movie. As long as there is communication, everything can be solved.”
“Metallica may have been the first band in the metal universe to use [therapy] and also be open to it," he noted. "I've seen other bands follow the same route, and many of my friends say, ‘Oh, we've had a couple of therapy sessions because we've had some trouble.”
Trujillo added that he’d been in similar situations in the past. “My position in every band that I've ever been with – working with Ozzy Osbourne at the height of his addictions; working with Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains when he was battling his demons; Suicidal Tendencies and what was going on in that camp; and then, of course, joining Metallica — [my position is] 'Okay, 'I'm here. There's a storm around me. How do I navigate this?'" he explained. "And I think the balance of my role even has to do with when I was growing up around my father and some of those challenges there, and trying to be the glue and understand, 'We have a situation here. How can I help?' And that, to me, is, I guess, my role in this band.”
In 2014, Hetfield admitted he found Some Kind of Monster difficult to watch. “A lot of times I'm not really comfortable with myself and seeing myself in the situations, but, man, I learned a lot about what I don't like about me," he said. "Which was good -- it was a good mirror. And I think everyone involved in that movie pretty much felt the same way about themselves."