METALLICA frontman James Hetfield has confirmed reports that C.O.C. guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan was one of the musicians to have auditioned for the bassist slot in the group following the departure of Jason Newsted.

"[Pepper]'s a good player and a solid guy," Hetfield told Kerrang! magazine. "I had such high hopes for him. But when it came to jamming with the band, I knew that it wasn't going to work. It just didn't feel right."

Keenan was one of several high-profile names to have auditioned for the slot (other musicians known to have tried out for the group include former MARILYN MANSON and current A PERFECT CIRCLE bassist Twiggy Ramirez, and ex-KYUSS man Scott Reeder), which eventually went to former OZZY OSBOURNE/SUICIDAL TENDENCIES bassist Robert Trujillo.

Trujillo, who first met METALLICA when SUICIDAL TENDENCIES toured with them in 1993, is overjoyed at the prospect of playing with one of the biggest metal bands of the last couple of decades.

"This band is one of the true Goliaths of rock," Robert said. "They're one of the few bands in the world who have such a stature. To be part of that is just incredible."

Guitarist Kirk Hammett suggested that Trujillo audition for the band after the pair went surfing in Venice Beach, California.

He said: "Rob is a great guy. He's now a member of the METALLICA family. He's not a hired guy, he's not on a salary — he's a full-time member of the band."

Hetfield added: "When we played with Rob, it just sounded and felt right."


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