Legendary Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo sits down to talk about drinking…
Finding balance and luring Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister into the studio.
In the 90’s, Rob Trujillo, for health reasons, made the leap from whiskey and Coke to whiskey and ginger. According to Zakk Wylde ginger counteracts the negative effects of drinking. While not even close to being scientifically proven (and far from doctor’s orders), Trujillo still swears by it!
When Robert met his wife Chloe in 1995 in Paris while on tour with Suicidal Tendencies, she vividly remembers his drink of choice: Crown Royal and ginger with two waters (the waters were apparently, for health reasons).
That romance ended up in marriage, two beautiful kids and permanent residence in LA. Rob recounts the meeting at a Baltimore bar, though without a drink in his hand.
The famed combination of heavy metal and alcohol has been known to cause its share of ups-and-downs. Even Trujillo’s bandmate James Hetfield has traded in his drinking days after struggles with alcoholism. But for Trujillo it’s been more “ups” than anything else.
He describes most of his drinking history as a process of elimination, getting sick and then vowing never to touch it again. He spent years drinking Jack Daniels with Suicidal Tendencies. After one vicious night, he quit Jack for good. In retrospect, his process of elimination may have been what saved him from a permanent downward spiral.
Present-day Rob Trujillo is much more interested in quality over quantity. There’s something about having kids and getting up at 6:30 a.m on school days. He’s switched from his Crown and ginger to craft cocktails and red wine. Now a typical week sometimes includes Mojitos, and, in keeping with Zakk Wylde’s advice, any and all cocktails that contain fresh ginger. Gone are those days drinking without conscience.
Trujillo confirms many of his fellow rock stars have turned from whiskey and Jägermeister drinkers into tequila, sake and wine connoisseurs, including some of his bandmates. Even the most hardcore of metal elites develop a taste for the good life. Though for some old habits die hard.
Consider the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead who, as Trujillo then found out, was a dependable Jack and Coke drinker. Lemmy was a musical idol of Trujillo’s. Rob ultimately ended up casting “Lem” in his animated movie (produced by Trujillo and Hetfield) called ‘Tallica Parking Lot… The short film about fans pre-gaming Metallica shows.
Robert Trujillo lined up the cartoon’s voiceover actors, including cameos from characters in South Park and Beavis & Butthead. Lemmy initially declined to come to the studio, opting instead to record his parts at home. When the recording didn’t turn out, Rob was left to lure Kilmister into the studio himself. So, he solicited advice from Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe and Steffan Chirazi who works with Metallica and Motörhead. Both said the same thing: “make sure to have a fresh hard pack of Marlboro Reds, a bottle of Jack Daniels, ice and Coca-Cola waiting!”
Rob got the goods and headed over to Lemmy’s apartment in his 64’ Buick Riviera lowrider, knowing the bassist was also a car buff. He rolled up, turned off the engine and watched as Kilmister came down, cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
“Oh, ’64 Rivie…” he murmured with his iconic British growl of approval. Lem got in. The car wouldn’t start. Trujillo, nervous in the presence of his idol, started sweating. He tried the engine again; no turnover.
While Trujillo fidgeted nervously, Lemmy appeased him with stories before asking if there was going to be any booze in the studio. Trujillo was already prepared, realizing Kilmister’s ritual was a way not only to corral his idol, but to finally connect with him. When they made it to the studio, a 1.75 ml of Jack Daniels was there waiting.
Lemmy grabbed the bottle and the ice and started pouring. It was in this moment that Trujillo began to relax and allow himself to revel in his fellow metal star’s presence, feeling that backstage bond take hold.
Kilmister offered him a whiskey. And though Jack is on the ban list, Robert thought for a moment and replied, “Count me the fuck in!”