SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo sure could get used to this: a tour of sorts, with stops at the Bay Area's professional and college sporting venues. Or even some travel to ballparks and arenas beyond Northern California.
AT&T Park was a nice start Friday night as the reigning World Series champion Giants hosted the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time this year.
"What's special about this is you can actually merge the two worlds together," Trujillo said. "I feel that music is such an inspirational form of energy, as baseball is. And especially with Metallica, believe it or not, our shows are very physical. Sports is a very physical thing, too."
Whether Trujillo's idea really takes off, time will tell — though he is already hoping for an Oakland Raiders game across the bay down the road.
"We'll see, maybe the Raiders are around the corner, you never know," Trujillo said. "I think we could be starting something here. Maybe this transitions into other bands uniting with their local team and representing and bringing that kind of excitement into the sport."
After playing the national anthem with Kirk Hammett to roaring cheers from the crowd, lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield led cheers of "Let's go Giants!" before first pitch. The band members reside in Marin County.
The band would love to make this an annual thing, and appreciated the Giants' invite.
"Extremely grateful. I think the Grateful Dead have their day," Hetfield said. "And we have a pretty loyal following ourselves. So I think we might be in the territory of the Dead as well. We're very grateful to be a part of this. Hopefully it can continue and we'll do it as long as we can."
Drummer Lars Ulrich threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Giants closer Sergio Romo. On the main scoreboard in center field, Giants players' photos were shown with Metallica-like hairdos when they batted.
With the Giants still early in their season, Hetfield is cheering for the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"Any sports team is a little tough for me to follow all the time," he said. "We're pretty busy ourselves. But I love it, especially when Bay Area teams are doing well. I just love what it does to people."
Trujillo insists he is the band member with the most baseball experience having played three years in his youth mostly at second base and in center field — and, at 48, "I'm actually the baby of the band, scary, huh?"
"I've been a baseball fan in the early part of my life, so through the 70s and the 80s I was a huge fan," he said. "I actually followed the Dodgers back then, back in the Kirk Gibson years, Steve Garvey. ... It means a lot to me. It's an honor to be here at this park, it's one of the most beautiful ballparks in the U.S. and probably in the world even. It's incredible. I don't think any seat's a bad seat here."
Trujillo is thrilled that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera makes his way to the mound to the Metallica hit "Enter Sandman."
"To have a song that's so relevant to kind of getting the energy going and people fired up, that's really special," Trujillo said. "That doesn't happen. It's really a rush and a thrill to feel you've been part of a body of music that's inspiring."
And this heavy metal band hopes to keep fans head banging for years to come. They're still having a blast coming up with new tunes even decades later as their lives have changed with spouses and children.
"We're still in there, and I hope we're still relevant," Trujillo said. "At a certain point, you go through the phase in your early years where you're drinking a lot of beer and whiskey and doing all of the wild stuff and then there's a certain point in your life, and it usually comes with family, marriage and your responsibilities to that, and then all of a sudden that transitions into 'You need to be responsible for your art' and how you're going to perform and how you treat your body.
"If you choose to take care of yourself, you're going to get more mileage for your career. I think the biggest reason for Metallica is we're very inspired. Usually you get 30 years into your career and songwriting doesn't become a priority anymore and you're just kind of banking on the hits. Basically when we put on our instruments we're like teenagers again."