This is what it feels like to miss out on the chance to join Metallica

Scott Reeder and Metallica
(Image credit: Press)

In 2001, Metallica began their search for a replacement for bassist Jason Newsted, who had quit the band at the start of sessions for the album that would become St Anger.

Over the ensuing months, the band auditioned a series of replacements. The job would eventually go to Rob Trujillo, though not before they tried out Les Claypool of Primus, Corrosion Of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan and ex-Jane’s Addiction man Eric Avery, among others (a process captured in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster).

One musician who also tried out was Scott Reeder, former bassist with stoner rock trailblazers Kyuss. Here Reeder looks back on the process of auditioning for Metallica – and how it felt to miss out on becoming a member of the world’s biggest metal band.

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How did you end up auditioning for Metallica?

“At some point after Jason was out, Lars was hanging out with my old [Kyuss] bandmate, Josh Homme, and asked him who he thought should be the new bassist for Metallica. Josh pointed him my way. Metallica and Kyuss had toured together in Australia back in ’93, so they were familiar with where I was coming from. Anyway, I was working outside at the ranch when Lars called. My wife brought the phone out and thought it was a prank call from Maynard from Tool! Nope – it was actually Lars!”

What happened next?

“They flew me up a week or two after the call. We sat around a table and talked for a while, and finally James said, ‘Well, let’s fuckin’ play!’ They had me call ’em out – we did Fuel, Creeping Death, Master Of Puppets, Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Fade To Black… They had their Christmas party for the whole Metallica organisation while I was up there, so that was fun! They took over a bowling alley and raged! The next day, it was back to work on St. Anger overdubs. There was a certain song for which James asked us all for lyrical input… Everyone wandered off and scribbled down whatever lines or phrases came to mind. After a while we got together and presented it all to James. He gathered his thoughts, and cut his vocals right next to me on the couch in the control room! That was pretty crazy.”

How did you find out you didn’t get the role?

“The three guys called me together to let me off the hook a few weeks later. They hadn’t made their final decision yet – I suspect that they were clear that Rob was their frontrunner. Around a half hour after that call, I got a call from James, just making sure I was alright. I told him I was stoked to have even been considered! I said, ‘This was like the Metal Olympics or something, and I got the silver medal – it’s all good!’”

How did you feel about St. Anger when you heard it?  

“Well, it’s the one album that I don’t own. They played me some of it when I was up there. I thought Lars was pulling my leg about the snare sound for a minute, but he was pretty excited about it; if there’s one thing I learned from my time in Kyuss, it’s that there are no rules!”

What did you think about the lack of solos on the album?

“Man, Kirk is a lead guitar virtuoso! To me, it was like having Luciano Pavarotti in the band, and asking him to pipe down!”

What do you think of Rob’s legacy in Metallica?

“He brought some fierce, old-school energy and well-rounded chops for days – I have huge respect for that guy, and it took some balls to take that gig and make it his own.” 

Published in Metal Hammer 355

Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.