METALLICA Bassist: ‘JAMES HETFIELD’s Worst Riff Would Be Another Band’s Best Riff’

There has been a lot of talk about METALLICA‘s next album, with singer/guitarist James Hetfield saying they’ve got a handful of music already and drummer Lars Ulrich stating he’d be surprised if their next record comes out before 2015. So what’s the holdup? VH1 Radio Network‘s Dave Basner asked METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo what it is about the band’s writing process that requires them to take so much time to create their music.

“Basically, we jam but we jam over a period of time,” Robert said. “We have a jam room when we go on tour, and obviously we have a studio, and every little riff gets recorded, every idea, every chordal pattern, every progression, every drumbeat, bass line, we have it, we file it away and then we go through the process of elimination.

Trujillo then told VH1 Radio Network more about the riffs they’ve been working on.

James Hetfield has, like, a thousand riffs and they’re all great,” he said. “His worst riff would be another band’s best riff. So we’re blessed… the blessing is also a curse, because we have so many cool ideas that it becomes challenging to decide what should not survive, at least for me, from where I’m sitting. I’m always like, ‘Well that’s a good riff!’ and James might be, like, ‘Eh, nah, I don’t like it.’ You know what I mean? But then again, maybe two weeks later he may like it. But you gotta have some sort of process of elimination. So that’s what we’ve been going through.”

Robert explained that process of elimination to VH1 Radio Network.

“What that entails is that we listen to the ideas, we go out on the floor in our studio, in the jam room, and we play that idea, and we maybe spend maybe a minute jamming it, maybe more,” he said. “Sometimes we come up with a full arrangement and then we put it aside and then we revisit all that like eight months later to see how it holds up and then you narrow it down basically to the best ideas to formulate about 15 songs or maybe more.”

Although METALLICA is not quite ready to get into the studio and begin recording its 10th album, Trujillo says that working with producer Rick Rubin again is a possibility. Rubin produced the band’s last effort, 2008’s “Death Magnetic”. When asked about possible producers for the next one, Trujillo told South Africa’s Muse magazine, “First things first, we’ve got to start getting our blueprints for songs together and make sure they’re the best possible — and then we see what producers are available. We made a great album with Rick Rubin the last time — that’s a strong possibility still.”

Trujillo added, “Obviously, there are no guarantees in anything in this day and age, but if there is a great producer, who has something to bring to METALLICA, we will investigate it.”

While METALLICA has said that they enjoyed the results they got with Rubin, a number of fans complained that the sound on “Death Magnetic” was too compressed and mixed too “hot,” making for an unpleasant listening experience.