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Rob Trujillo recalls the promise he made to Cliff Burton

Rob Trujillo
Images from Brett Murray and Ross Halfin

Classic Rock

Rob Trujillo recalls the promise he made to Cliff Burton

The Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo recalled in an interview with Bass Player the promise he made to the late bassist of the band Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident back in 1986 at the age of 24. He said that when he got the gig with Metallica back in 2002, he was staying in the house of the Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin, who used to be one of Burton’s best friends.


Rob Trujillo recalls the promise he made to Cliff Burton

“Cliff was absolutely amazing for Metallica. His ideas, his presence, and where he was taking the bass and taking metal, were so special. And his stage presence – he was such a physical player. He played what he felt, and that was the bottom line. His approach was, ‘I’m gonna play what I feel, and if you don’t like it, screw you!'”

“When I auditioned for Metallica in 2002, I was playing in Ozzy Osbourne’s band with one of Cliff’s best friends, Mike Bordin of Faith No More. I was staying at Mike’s house in San Francisco and in the guest room at Mike’s house, where I would be practising Metallica’s music, there is a big photo of Cliff – and at a random moment at two in the morning, I looked up and saw that photo.”

Rob Trujillo continued:

“I actually spoke to the photo. I said, ‘Cliff, I won’t let you down, I promise. I’ll give it my best shot.’ So in a weird way I feel connected to Cliff. I feel like I know him. When I learned ‘The Call of Ktulu’, I really directed Cliff’s bass parts and took a lot of pride in doing that. I really wanted to know it, and feel it, and get it into my soul, so I spent time with it.”

“No disrespect to my brothers in Metallica, but Cliff was older than the other guys, and in a lot of ways a better musician. He had a very broad creative skill set. A musician’s musician, in a lot of ways. He could play the piano and he knew classical music, as well as being a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He used to ask Kirk to show him Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solos so he could play them on bass, and not many bass players were doing that back then. I thought that was so cool. Cliff was a force on a lot of different levels,” Rob Trujillo said.

During his career, Rob Trujillo has recorded with many groups and artists. He was part of Sucidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves and Ozzy Osbourne’s band before joining Metallica. He already recorded with names like Jerry Cantrell, Black Label Society and Glenn Tipton.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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