Metallica Via Megadeth — Ellefson Interviews Trujillo

Metallica and Megadeth, two bands that will be connected at the hip — or the ankle — for as long as the genre of metal retains listeners. Metallica is arguably the biggest hard-rock or metal (depending on who’s doing the classifications), and Megadeth is Metallica’s ornery stepchild.

Ever since Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine was handed his walking papers and an infamous bus ticket by Metallica frontman James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, Mustaine has had a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Metallica. His departure from the band spurred the creation of Megadeth, a giant of a metal band that has nothing to complain about — other than it’s not as big as Metallica.

Knowing the history between Megadeth and Metallica makes the new interview done for Bass Gear Magazine between Megadeth bassist, David Ellefson, and Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo, all the more interesting. Other than Dave Mustaine, Ellefson is the longest-serving member of Megadeth, and band whose members have seen more lineup changes than Spinal Tap. Robert Trujillo is the newest addition to Metallica. The band’s third bass player in thirty-odd years, (Cliff Burton died tragically in a bus accident in 1986 and Jason Newsted left the band in 2001 after he went to war with James Hetfield over side projects outside of Metallica) and has provided a technical virtuosity and a zen attitude to the bass playing duties.

The interview between Trujillo and Ellefson took place after the Mass Mental performance at Warwick in Markneukirchen, Germany.

One of the highlights — aka most revealing portions — of the interview was when Ellefson asked Trujillo about his love of flamenco and Spanish folk music.

“Well, flamenco was probably the first music that I may have heard as a baby, because my father played flamenco. It was for, obviously, hobby purposes, but that’s what he played all the time, so I got used to hearing him play that style of music. And also, his finger technique, obviously, was… fingers… So when I picked up the acoustic guitar, I immediately started playing like that. And then I realized at some point that I was gravitating towards music that was more bass driven. But also, at one point, I realized that the more rhythmic instruments, like bass and drums, were what really suited me, ’cause I wanted to be a drummer first. We lived in an apartment, so I couldn’t afford to get a kit to play loud and all that. My father had a friend who actually had a hollow-body bass guitar, and didn’t work through an amp, but because it was hollow body, I could play it. So I kind of played on that for about a year, learning scales and all that. And here I am.”

Metallica is currently in the studio recording their tenth studio album, the long-awaited followup to 2008’s Death Magnetic. Recently, however, they’ve been playing a ton of other gigs around the world, including a recent appearance at the NBA Finals and the X-Games. Next month, they’ll headline Lollapalooza with Paul McCartney.

[Photo by Christopher Polk and Ethan Miller/Getty Images]