Trujillo himself recently told Billboard that "we're doing really well, actually. We're having a great time. We're basically writing. We're putting together a couple different handfuls of arrangements and mostly everything right now is at the instrumental stage and we're just nurturing the process. But all I can say is that we're having a really amazing time. It's fun. It's a lot of hard work. You're looking at that mountain of ideas and, 'OK, it's time to climb this beats. It's time to climb this mountain and get to the top and do what we've got to do."
All of Metallica's members have acknowledged that other projects, including live dates and 2013's Metallica: Through the Never 3D movie, have distracted the group from focusing on its album. And tough the group has seven European shows booked during May, June and August as well as the inaugural Rock In Rio USA festival May 9 in Las Vegas, Trujillo noted that "we've pretty much exhausted our touring cycles. When you've played Antarctica (as Metallica did during December of 2013) you've pretty much exhausted your ability to play show son the planet, except for the moon, maybe. So we're really excited about nurturing the songs and bringing them to life."
Don't go asking about a projected release date, however. "None of us can predict when that will be," Trujillo said. "All I can say is we are working hard. It is happening. In the last year we had a lot of detours, whether it was shows or the movie, which took up a lot of our time and kind of sidetracked us from this album. We had worked for a few months before and then we dove into the film project, the Metallica 3D movie, and that sidetracked us. But we're back now and the main focus is really on new songs and getting them ready to be recorded."
There are some projects going on outside of the album, of course. Guitarist Kirk Hammett recently announced his second Fear FestEvil horror event to take place April 11-12 in San Jose, Calif., with a VIP dinner the night before. Trujillo, meanwhile, has a PledgeMusic campaign going through Jan. 31 to finish funding his documentary about the late bass legend Jaco Pastorius, which premiered during October at the Mill Valley Film Festival in California.
"We're so close and we're just trying to get to the finish line," Trujillo said. "We've had so much positive energy. When you take on a project like this, it's from the heart so it is for the right reasons. This is not the next 'Transformers' or, you know what I mean. It's not, like, the blockbuster.
It's a the story that I wanted to share with as many people as possible, musicians or non-musicians, bass players or non-bass players." Premiums for the PledgeMusic drive include personal bass lessons with Trujillo and others, signed items and replica Pastorius electric bass guitars, as well as a chance to pre-order the DVD, which Trujillo hopes to have ready for Record Store Day in April. He's hoping for a screening at this year's South By Southwest Film Festival during March in Austin, Texas, while a soundtrack/companion album is also on tap, including performances of Pastorius pieces by other artists.