Long before he was the bassist in Metallica, Robert Trujillo was cutting his teeth with crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies. Trujillo joined the band in 1989 and played on every record from 1990's Lights... Camera... Revolution! to 1994's Suicidal For Life.
Although out of the group for almost 30 years, Trujillo returned to the Suicidal fold briefly on October 27 to play with them in Mexico City, standing in for his son Tye, who serves as the band's current bassist. Speaking to Metal Hammer ahead of the show, Robert admitted he's still very close to his former bandmates.
"It’s so incredible to see what’s happened with Suicidal over the years, especially so now having my son [Tye] playing bass in the band," he explains.
On that front, he also admits there's a natural sense of pride in seeing Tye doing so well with the group, in addition to his other work that has in recent years included forming his own band OTTTO and providing the iconic Master Of Puppets solo for Netflix's Stranger Things.
"It’s great, actually. He graduated high school this year and two days later he was on tour!" Robert says with a chuckle. "As a father, I like to know our kids are happy, grounded and humble, but also doing what they love and working hard. It’s been great watching him navigating that, especially because he so clearly loves music, his band OTTTO, working with Suicidal… he’s balanced it all really well. I just say, ‘do as much as you can, have lots of fun’.”
2023 marks 40 years since Suicidal Tendencies' self-titled debut was released and the band have celebrated the fact by playing the record live at select dates.
"I can’t believe the energy," Robert marvels. "I saw them play in San Francisco and I was right down there in the crowd, where normally I’d be watching somewhere from the side. They’ve gotta be one of the best live bands out there right now, and knowing they’ve actually been around as long as Metallica or Slayer is amazing. Mike Muir is the fountain of youth, just dashing and jumping around while the band played their debut in its entirety."
Robert also admits there are some difficulties in playing some of the band's more demanding songs. "There’s so much physicality to their music," he explains. "I mean, Lights… Camera… Revolution! – that stuff will give you cramps! I sometimes look back and think ‘how was I playing that?!’ because it was crazy. But it’s safe to say, I wouldn’t be here with Metallica if it weren’t for Suicidal Tendencies. I was more focused on funk and jazz when I joined that band, but they opened a lot of doors for me, experiencing that energy and culture of being on-stage with them has found its way into all other bands and genres I think.”
For their part, Suicidal were equally effusive about Robert stepping in for the show in Mexico City.
"Unfortunately Tye Trujillo already had a gig booked with his band OTTTO and neither date could be moved," explaied a statement on Suicidal Tendencies' Facebook page.
"His father and good friend of mine said let me see if we can figure something out. We kept a secret till the plane landed in Mexico City, and did our best to keep it down after, but last night at HOV was an absolute blast and we were all so thankful to be able to get up and play with Robert one more time. Words can't expess the gratitude we have for everyone that helped us at Vans, starting with Steve Van Doren and Pete and all the HOV crew in Mexico, Jeff Bass and all the ST crew, and all the people that were lucky enough to get tickets.
And of course Robert Trujillo who made it all be such an amazing memorable event for so many people... and yes I did see a few tears in several people's eyes. A night we'll never forget. We are Family."
Suicidal Tendencies 40th Anniversary tour is currently due to end in Portland, Oregon on December 1. Watch the band play You Can't Bring Me Down with Robert Trujillo in Mexico City below, with fans chanting "Trujillo!".