Robert Trujillo fondly remembers touring as an opening act with Metallica, 10 years before he wound up joining the band.

Then part of Suicidal Tendencies, Trujillo looked back with warmth at the energy of the era, but suggested he was also just another musician struggling to pay his bills.

“It was a really exciting time to be in Los Angeles, because everybody was writing and recording their records with their producers in the various studios,” Trujillo told Apple Beats’ Zane Lowe. “There was just a lot of excitement in rock 'n' roll with lots of different bands. Everything was on. … I was playing in Suicidal Tendencies at the time, and we had made a record that I guess Lars [Ulrich] seemed to like.”

That led to a tour as an opening act with Metallica in 1993. “So, for me to watch Metallica every night, and also even funny things like we would get to eat their leftover dinners when they leave,” Trujillo said. “I got my first official bonus, I'll never forget that. I believe it was in Europe, and we were summoned to go meet them in their tour lounge, I guess you'd call it, and we were handed each an envelope with cash. It was about $1,000, and that was the most money I had ever made – or saw – through music. It was just so kind and amazing.”

A decade later, Trujillo felt he might be able to deliver what Metallica needed when they invited him to audition for their vacant bassist position, because some of their music had a similar vibe to Suicidal Tendencies. Even more important, Trujillo said, was an ability to fit in with the musicians and their crew.

“Being in a band like Metallica – it requires a lot more than just being able to play the songs,” he said. “You've got to get along with your people, and you've got to understand how to gauge the territory.”

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