Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo says seeing Jaco Pastorius in concert inspired him to take his bass playing to the next level.
Trujillo played in funk metal supergroup Infectious Grooves – as well as with Suicidal Tendencies – before landing the Metallica job, and he says Pastorius was his bass hero.
Trujillo last month launched a crowdfunding campaign for Jaco: The Movie, a film he’s producing which tells the story of the late bass enigma from the point of view of family, friends and fellow musicians including Flea, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Geddy Lee, Bootsy Collins and Carlos Santana.
He tells ForBassPlayersOnly: “When I was a teenager, I had the good fortune of seeing Jaco play at least four times.
“And it was just an eye-opening experience. In a lot of ways it changed my life, because that’s where I saw that bass as an instrument could propel itself into the forefront and not just be the guy in the back holding it down on the sly, but actually could be up in the front and in control.
“Jaco, he set the bar. The bar was just so high that it was almost unattainable to a certain degree, but the great thing about it is it inspired you to take the instrument into other directions.
“I was writing, creating music with him in mind. So a band like Infectious Grooves was inspired by Jaco Pastorius, but it was also inspired by bands like Metallica or Slayer or the Sex Pistols. But bass, as a bassist, probably the main inspiration would have been Jaco.”
Trujillo adds that he hopes the movie raises awareness of bipolar disorder, which Pastorius was diagnosed with in 1982.
He adds: “We want people to understand Jaco’s brilliance, we want people to understand the disease that needs to be understood – bipolar. It wasn’t just somebody who had too much to drink, it was deeper than that.
“There are people on this earth that provide us with incredible creative energy, whether it’s in art, painting science, music. They take us and the instrument somewhere that is unfathomable, it’s uncharted territory. Hendrix did that and Jaco Pastorius was the Jimi Hendrix of bass. But he was beyond that because he was such a great composer and an incredible performer.”