Robert Trujillo (Spanish pronunciation: roˈβerto tɾuˈxiʎo; born October 23, 1964) is an American bassist known for his role as the current bassist of American heavy metal band Metallica. He also was a member of crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, funk metal supergroup Infectious Grooves, heavy metal band Black Label Society, and he has worked with Jerry Cantrell from the rock band Alice in Chains, and Ozzy Osbourne.
Trujillo was born in 1964, Santa Monica, California. He is of Mexican descent. Trujillo stated that "Jaco Pastorius was my hero growing up," and that "Hearing him was like hearing Eddie Van Halen doing 'Eruption' for the first time: You thought, 'What instrument is that?' I loved jazz fusion and branched out from there. But Jaco had an edge that far exceeded his jazz persona. He was funk, he was rock, he was soul. And his whole attitude was punk."
He "...grew up in Culver City, California." His childhood was "... all about the music at home. My mother was a huge fan of Motown, people like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Sly And The Family Stone." He began playing in "a lot of backyard party bands", which meant he played music by Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. He went to jazz school when he was 19 with the intention of becoming a "studio musician but he was still passionate about rock and metal."
Trujillo first gained prominence as the bassist for California crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. Initially billed as "Stymee" on the 1989 album Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu, Trujillo remained in the band until the mid-1990s. Concurrent to his work with Suicidal Tendencies, Trujillo was also a member of the band's side project, Infectious Grooves, along with vocalist Mike Muir.
Trujillo was a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band for a number of years starting in the late 1990s. He was the subject of controversy for re-recording Bob Daisley's bass tracks for reissued versions of Osbourne's albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman because of Daisley's claim of not receiving proper royalties. During this time, Trujillo formed an experimental supergroup, Mass Mental, with then Dub War singer Benji Webbe, whose "ragga-punk-metal" outfit had just disbanded. The band released one studio album (exclusively in Japan) and one live album of their performance in Tokyo before disbanding. Zakk Wylde, a personal friend and bandmate from the Ozzy days, also recruited him to play with Black Label Society for a few shows.
Robert Trujillo began playing electric bass for Metallica on February 24, 2003. The band consists of James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Lars Ulrich. He had previously met and befriended his future bandmates when Suicidal Tendencies supported Metallica during the Nowhere Else to Roam tour in 1993, and again during the Shit Hits the Sheds tour one year later. Trujillo received one million dollars from the band as an advance for joining Metallica. His audition and hiring as well as his million dollar payment offer appear in the documentary film Some Kind of Monster. As the current bassist for Metallica, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside all current members of the band, as well as Jason Newsted (who left the band in 2001) and the late Cliff Burton on April 4, 2009.
In 2003, Trujillo was seen playing an upright bass in the Nickel Creek music video, "Smoothie Song". However, he did not play bass for the band during the song's recording.
Trujillo has also had some small roles in television and film. He had a non-speaking role in the 1978 Walter Matthau film House Calls, and had a minor role in the 1980 Gary Coleman made-for-TV film Scout's Honor. He also played a character named "Flippy" in a 1982 episode of the television drama series CHiPs.
In 1992 he appeared as himself along with his Infectious Grooves' bandmates in the hit Brendan Fraser comedy film Encino Man.
Robert is married and has a son and daughter, Ty and Lula. His girlfriend at the time, (now his wife) Chloé did a pyrography (woodburning) design of the Aztec Calendar for him on his bass guitar. Years later when Rob heard Chloé had moved to Los Angeles, he called her from a pay phone while on a surfing trip in Tahiti in a determined effort to reconnect. They have been together for the past seven years and are now married. His wife has her own website called "Chloe in art".
In 2012, Trujillo began producing a documentary about Jaco Pastorius entitled Jaco, directed by Stephen Kijak.
Trujillo is primarily a finger-style player, but has been known to play with a pick in some recordings and while playing live. Trujillo's predecessor in Metallica, Jason Newsted, was almost exclusively a pick-style player, while Cliff Burton, Newsted's predecessor and bassist on Metallica's first three albums, played finger-style exclusively. Trujillo is known for playing "massive chords" and "chord-based harmonics" on the bass.
Trujillo also uses the slap bass technique, seen mostly in his work with Suicidal Tendencies and especially Infectious Grooves. At many of the shows during Metallica's 2004 Madly in Anger with the World Tour, Trujillo would often play an extended bass solo (dubbed "Jungle Essence" on recordings) which made extensive use of slap bass and other techniques and effects.
For recording purposes, Trujillo uses his own code for writing down bass arrangements. Inspired by an article by Pino Palladino, he developed this during the recording sessions for Jerry Cantrell's Degradation Trip which, according to Trujillo, had him working from "little hoodrat demos" with nearly inaudible bass.
With Metallica, he is most often seen playing Fernandes Gravity 5-string basses, particularly a model with a silver finish, blue flame decals, and EMG pickups. He has a Warwick Signature Streamer bass that was released in March 2010. He also has a signature bass model, the Sonus RT, manufactured by Zon Guitars. Prior to Metallica, he was most often seen playing Tobias, ESP and MusicMan basses (all 5-strings), as well as a Fender Precision Bass with Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne. Trujillo has been seen in concert playing a Yamaha TRB5-P2 5-string bass, a customized green Rickenbacker 4001/4003 4-string bass fitted with EMG pickups, various Nash P-Bass Copy guitars, and both a classic Fender Precision Bass and Fender Jazz Bass. For amplification, he uses Ampeg amplifiers and cabinets. Trujillo recently collaborated with Jim Dunlop to create his new Icon signature bass strings - these strings are taper-core stainless steel, with a non-tapered B string in gauges 45-130 (5-string).
Trujillo is also the custodian of the "Bass Of Doom" - a defretted mid-1960s Fender Jazz Bass that was formerly owned by the late Jaco Pastorius and which was extensively used on his recorded works. The bass had been seriously damaged, but has subsequently been restored and refinished. Trujillo acquired it from its previous owner, with the intention of having the bass remain with him, in trust for the Pastorius family. He has, however, been seen playing it onstage with Metallica.
Trujillo's pedal board consists of an Electro Harmonix Q-Tron, a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI, a Tech 21 XXL, an MXR m-135 SmartGate, a Morley Mark Tremonti wah pedal, and a Boss OC-2 Octave Pedal; all powered by a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power.