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Metallica ‘lax’ over songwriting, Trujillo admits

But bassist insists that taking time over Death Magnetic follow-up is better than hiring outside writers

Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo admits the band have become “lax” in their approach to songwriting in recent years.

But although their interest in other projects mean it’s taken time to focus on the follow-up to 2008 album Death Magnetic, he believes it’s worth keeping fans waiting rather than rely on contributions from third parties.

Trujillo tells the No Treble Podcast: “The members of Metallica enjoy being creative. As they get a bit older and deeper in their careers, they get a little bit lax in terms of wanting to write songs.

“You’d be surprised how many known bands start writing with outside writers and stuff like that, and aren’t actually writing their songs any more. With us it’s the opposite – we’ve got so many song ideas, riffs, bass lines, whatever, that the hardest thing is trying to eliminate.”

He describes the material as in the process of being “nurtured,” adding: “It’s pride; you’re working on an art piece. It’s got to be right, and what does that mean? Exploring.

“James Hetfield always has a handful of words for one possible word. Maybe this word doesn’t work out; let’s try these. It’s a lot of work and it’s time-consuming. But at the same time it’s important. It needs to be done that way.”

Trujillo has retained a lesson learned from a “motivational speech” by Death Magnetic producer Rick Rubin. “It was like, ‘Imagine yourself playing these new songs to fans in this small bar or club,’” says the bassist. “He was like, ‘Stand up. Eveybody stand up. Perform these songs – make them a part of you.’ It made sense. So when I was tracking bass, I was actually standing up and rocking.”

Former Metallica producer Bob Rock recently predicted the completed album would be a “landmark” release. Trujillo, who’s also working on his Jaco Pastorius movie, is featured in the current edition of Metal Hammer, on sale now.

Metallica headline this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals.

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