Life and career
Roberto Agustin Trujillo was born in Santa Monica, California. He is of Mexican descent. He grew up in Culver City, California, where his father was a teacher at Culver City High School. Trujillo was first exposed to music during his childhood; his mother was a huge fan of Motown, particularly musicians like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Sly and the Family Stone. Trujillo stated that "Jaco [Pastorius] was my hero growing up", and that the iconic jazz bassist changed his view of what the instrument could play: "Hearing him was like hearing Eddie Van Halen doing "Eruption" for the first time: You thought, 'What instrument is that?' I loved jazz fusion and branched out from there. But Jaco had an edge that far exceeded his jazz persona. He was funk, he was rock, he was soul. And his whole attitude was punk." He began playing in "a lot of backyard party bands", playing music by Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. He went to jazz school when he was 19 with the intention of becoming a studio musician, however he maintained his passion for rock and metal.
Trujillo first gained prominence when he replaced Bob Heathcote as the bassist for California crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. Initially billed as "Stymee" on the 1989 album Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu, Trujillo remained in the band until the mid-1990s. Concurrent to his work with Suicidal Tendencies, Trujillo was also a member of the band's side project, Infectious Grooves, along with vocalist Mike Muir.
Trujillo was a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band for a number of years starting in the late 1990s. In contrast to his earlier jazz and funk inspired playing, Osbourne's band was more straightforward hard rock and metal. Trujillo also co-wrote several songs on the Down to Earth album. He was the subject of controversy for re-recording Bob Daisley's bass tracks for reissued versions of Osbourne's first two solo albums Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981) after Daisley claimed he was not paid proper royalties. During this time, Trujillo formed an experimental supergroup, Mass Mental, with then Dub War singer Benji Webbe, whose "ragga-punk-metal" outfit had just disbanded. The band released one studio album (exclusively in Japan) and one live album of their performance in Tokyo before disbanding. Zakk Wylde, a personal friend and bandmate from the Ozzy days, also recruited him to play with Black Label Society for a few shows.
Trujillo began playing bass for Metallica on February 24, 2003. He had previously met and befriended his future bandmates when Suicidal Tendencies supported Metallica during the Nowhere Else to Roam tour in 1993, and again during the Shit Hits the Sheds tour one year later. Trujillo received one million dollars from the band as an advance for joining Metallica. His audition and hiring as well as his million dollar payment offer appear in the documentary film Some Kind of Monster. As the current bassist for Metallica, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside all current members of the band, as well previous bassists Jason Newsted and the late Cliff Burton.
Trujillo is married and has a son, Tye, and daughter, Lulah. In April 2017, Tye performed with Korn during their South American tour, filling in for longtime bassist Reginald Arvizu. Trujillo's wife, Chloé, has also created a pyrography design of the Aztec calendar on one of his basses.
In 2012, Trujillo began producing a documentary about jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius entitled Jaco, directed by Stephen Kijak and Paul Marchand. The film was named Official Film of Record Store Day 2014 and was released in November 2014.