In 2001, Metallica began their search for a replacement for bassist Jason Newsted, who had left the band early in the sessions for the album that would become St. Anger.
Over the following months, the band auditioned for a series of replacements. The job would eventually go to Rob Trujillo, but not before trying Primus’ Les Claypool, Corrosion Of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan, and former Jane’s Addiction man Eric Avery, among others (a process captured in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster).
A musician who also tried was Scott Reeder, former bassist for stoner rock pioneers Kyuss. Here, Reeder reflects on the audition process for Metallica – and how it felt to not become a member of the biggest metal band in the world.
How did you end up auditioning for Metallica?
“At some point after Jason came out, Lars was hanging out with my old [Kyuss] his bandmate, Josh Homme, and asked him who he thinks Metallica’s new bassist should be. Josh showed him my way. Metallica and Kyuss had toured Australia together in 1993, so they knew where I was from. Anyway, I was working out at the ranch when Lars called. My wife pulled out the phone and thought it was a Maynard prank from Tool! No, it was actually Lars!
What happened next ?
“They brought me in a week or two after the roll call. We sat around a table and talked for a while, and finally James said, ‘Well fuck, let’s play!’ They made me call them – we did Fuel, Creeping Death, Puppet Master, Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Fade To Black… They had their Christmas party for the whole Metallica organization while I was up there, so that was fun! They took over a bowling alley and raged! The next day was back to work Holy Wrath overdubs. There was a certain song that James asked all of us for lyrical input for… Everyone walked away and scribbled down any lines or phrases that came to mind. After a while we got together and presented everything to James. He collected his thoughts and cut his voice right next to me on the couch in the control room! It was pretty crazy.
How did you find out that you didn’t get the role?
“The three guys called me in to bail me out a few weeks later. They hadn’t made their final decision yet – I suspect they clearly knew that Rob was their favourite. About half an hour after that call, I got a call from James, just to make sure I was okay. I told her I was glad I was even considered! I said, ‘It was like the Metal Olympics or something, and I got the silver medal – it’s all good!’ »
What did you feel about holy angelr when you heard it?
“Well, it’s the only album I don’t own. They played me part 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’ve learned from my time in Kyuss, it’s that there are no rules!
What did you think of the lack of solos on the album?
“Man, Kirk is a lead guitar virtuoso! For me, it was like having Luciano Pavarotti in the band and asking him to be heard!
What do you think of Rob’s legacy in Metallica?
“He brought fierce old-school energy and well-rounded chops for days – I have huge respect for this guy, and it took some balls to take this gig and make it his own.”
Posted in Metal Hammer 355