Alex Distefano conducted an interview with METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo for the cover story of Inland Empire Weekly. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the first-ever “Big Four” concert in the U.S. (featuring METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX), which took place yesterday (Saturday, April 23) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

Trujillo: “The location kind of chose us. We were approached by promoters with the venue which was free just the week after Coachella [festival]. It just worked perfectly for all the bands’ schedules. The time just seemed appropriate to finally do it in the States and see how the show goes. For us, it was about a demand; we tested the waters in Europe and it went well.”

“With the ‘Big Four,’ these four bands have not yet shared the stage on the same bill, so it’s a historic sort of concert for our fans in Southern California. But we also have fans coming from all around the world for this show.”

“There is something about seeing these four bands on one stage that is just magical. From the shows we all did last summer, I noticed everyone steps up and brings their A game; from the musicians, there is just something about all the bands together, where you just feel it . . . it’s the spirit of heavy metal. We want to show that we can provide the goods and bring that heavy metal energy.”

“I remember I was playing with METALLICA when I was in SUICIDAL [TENDENCIES] — it was in the early ’90s — and for me I just thought the ultimate metal show would be SLAYER with METALLICA. Now that it’s a reality and I’m part of it, it is just amazing.”

On the bonding between the four bands that took place at the Eastern European shows:

Trujillo: “We had this huge dinner before the show, and each night we’d just hang out like in the old school days; and for some it was a reunion. But everyone was so cool, we were all like family, we got a feeling for the spirit of the show and music. It was definitely one of the highlights of my career.”

On METALLICA performing its classic 1986 album, “Master Of Puppets”, in its entirety in 2006 to celebrate its 20th anniversary:

Trujillo: “It was the 20th anniversary of that album, and for me it was just an honor to be part of those magical shows. The song ‘Orion’ is one of [late METALLICA bassist] Cliff Burton‘s masterpieces. For me just playing that song was a blessing. I felt very fortunate to be part of this special tour.”

On the possibility of more “Big Four” shows in the future:

Trujillo: “The crowds in Europe were amazing, the promoters were super-excited and showed us there was a demand for the ‘Big Four.’ It is possible there will be more in the future, but there’s nothing yet confirmed. But the fact that we can go do this show and keep the momentum of playing live without [having] a new record out is great, and thank God we can all still play!”

On performing to huge crowds in in virtually all parts of the world — even in times of unrest and economic downturn:

Trujillo: “We love our music and sharing it onstage it’s amazing for us each and every show. In the past few years, we’ve gone to South America, Central America, Japan, South Korea, and [we] might even be the first metal band [that played] in Costa Rica and Guatemala.”

“It got kinda scary in Guatemala. The cops had to come out with riot gear; they didn’t expect a heavy metal band would attract so many fans. They were afraid of the energy — you know how it is at a metal show. It was a wonderful experience in the end. We love traveling and experiencing other cultures. To play to 80,000 fans in Brazil is just unimaginable.”

“We are going to play India in October. That should be interesting, playing a place we never thought in our wildest dreams we’d [go] to play. It’s an honor for all of us that we get to be a part of that whole music scene as a metal band sharing our music with fans in India at this incredible concert!”

Read more from Inland Empire Weekly.