METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo has once again defended "Lulu", the band's controversial collaborative disc with Lou Reed, calling it "something that we enjoyed and that we embraced."
"Lulu" polarized fans around the world and earned METALLICA some of the most scathing reviews of its career. The effort featured the late THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman's spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA's musical assault for a jarring experience that didn't sound like anything METALLICA had ever attempted before.
More than five years since its release, "Lulu" has only sold around 35,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
During an appearance on the "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" podcast, Trujillo stated about "Lulu": "One of the beautiful things about being in METALLICA and being a member is to be able to take on challenging projects that I feel and I believe make us a better band. And the Lou Reed album was definitely a project that set us off on a journey creatively. Love it or hate it, it was definitely something that we enjoyed and that we embraced.
"Lou is Lou," he continued. "Lou is a no-holds-barred artist, top to bottom, and he's got a lot of fire in him. It was an interesting journey. Sometimes it was amusing, sometimes it was difficult — but in a good way; it wasn't difficult in a bad way. I just learned so much. I think us as a band learned a bit more about embracing spontaneity, and there was definitely some magic moments. There's some stuff that happened there in the studio that kind of blew my mind — where you're tracking and then, all of a sudden, there's an improvisational moment. Like when James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] and I were cutting a song — I think it was 'Junior Dad' — and it was all on the fly, basically on the spot: 'press record.' And it just kind of really lined up really well and there was this beautiful energy to it. It's a really hard song to hear, because it ends up making people cry all the time. It's an emotional statement."
Trujillo added: "Lou had been through a lot, man — between how he grew up… That song is about his father. So he really endured a lot. And, again, [he was] a wonderful man with a steel armor when it came to rock and roll, and just really edgy and powerful. So I always kind of try to embrace what he had and bring that spirit to life through my music."
Asked if there was a piece of advice that Reed gave to him that he took to heart, Trujillo said: "Not so much. One thing that I loved what he said… He said, 'There are no mistakes.' And then the other thing that he said that was really cool, because the album, to a large contingent of the METALLICA fans, was negatively embraced, so he had said something [like], 'If people don't have something nice to say, they shouldn't say anything at all.' And I, actually, till this day, I remember that, and if I feel a certain way about someone's music or their art, I really try to not say anything. I try to find the positives in whatever is going on. 'Cause you've gotta understand — it's coming from the heart, and it's like your children. You've gotta be careful, because art is really important to most people and you wanna respect that as much as possible. So I live by that rule."
The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed's "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.
The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.
Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, "Junior Dad", clocks in at 19 minutes.
Reed died in October 2013 at the age of 71, five months after he had a life-saving liver transplant, according to his wife, Laurie Anderson.