One of the most iconic TV scenes in recent memory centers around a Metallica song. In the season 4 finale of Netflix's wildly popular Stranger Things, the show's Dio-backpatch-wearing, Warlock-shredding high-school hesher, Eddie Munson, battles the evil Vecna and his Demobats by rocking Metallica's "Master of Puppets" in the Upside Down.
The scene has completely reinvigorated the 1986 thrash classic's place in the mainstream zeitgeist, rocketing the song up the Spotify global chart and earning an enthusiastic response from Metallica themselves. Naturally, Eddie Munson actor Joseph Quinn has become a rising star for his on-screen performance, but there was another crucial player in the "Master of Puppets" scene who helped make the whole thing possible off-camera.
Tye Trujillo, the 17-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, contributed newly-recorded guitar parts for the "Master of Puppets" intro and solo — giving Quinn's character the ability to sound like he's playing live. The young Trujillo is already somewhat of a musical prodigy, having played bass onstage with Korn at age 12, and currently serving as a touring member of Suicidal Tendencies — all while holding down his own rising metal band, OTTTO.
We spoke to him about how he got to contribute to this special version of "Master of Puppets" — which involved working directly with Metallica's Kirk Hammett to get the parts just right.
FIRST OFF, WERE YOU A STRANGER THINGS FAN PRIOR TO THIS EXPERIENCE?
I don't usually spend too much time watching TV as I'm always busy with my studies and my music, but I knew Stranger Things is a great show as my friends often talk about it. When I had the chance, I watched the first episodes during the pandemic and I really loved the Eighties vibe and the setting.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN CONTRIBUTING PARTS TO THIS VERSION OF "MASTER OF PUPPETS?"
One of my school teachers is married to a producer of the show and she knew about my love for music and asked me if I was interested in contributing to the show by recording some guitars for a part of an episode. To my surprise, the song they chose for me to record was "Master of Puppets"!
WHY DID THEY DECIDE TO HAVE SOMEONE RE-RECORD SECTIONS OF THE SONG FOR THAT SCENE IN THE SHOW? RATHER THAN JUST GOING WITH THE ORIGINAL RECORDING.
The producers wanted to use a live recording of the guitar, as Eddie was playing those parts live in the "most metal concert in the history of the world!" And in order to be authentic they couldn't just use the original track, as it was recorded in a studio.
WHY WERE YOU IN PARTICULAR ASKED TO PLAY THESE PARTS? WAS IT BECAUSE OF YOUR DAD'S ROLE IN THE BAND, OR BECAUSE THEY WANTED SOMEONE YOUNG? OR WHAT?
The main reason I got the job is because of my teacher! Obviously, she knows my father plays in the band, but I think she was mostly aware of the passion for music I've had since I was very young.
WALK US THROUGH THE WHOLE RECORDING EXPERIENCE. HOW'D THAT GO DOWN?
I went over to my father's friend Steve Ogan's studio and he tracked my guitar as I jammed through his Mini Vox amp. He's been really helpful and I'm very thankful, as he also lent me all the gear that was necessary for me to record the parts.
YOU PLAYED GUITAR ON THIS RECORDING BUT I KNOW YOUR MAIN INSTRUMENT IS BASS. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO LEARN THOSE PARTS ON AN INSTRUMENT THAT ISN'T YOUR GO-TO?
Bass is my main instrument, but I write a lot of music on guitar, too, so I didn't feel uncomfortable picking it up. The most challenging part for me was to play those high notes on those thinner strings! My fingers are used to the bass strings.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH KIRK? WHAT SORT OF POINTERS DID HE GIVE YOU?
Obviously Kirk Hammett is a guitar legend and I feel honored to consider him as an uncle. I've known him all my life and we really like spending time together. I felt very comfortable asking him for pointers on the guitar parts, and he's been extremely helpful as he sent me video clips of each section and how he plays them live. He also slowed some parts down so that I could get a better understanding of them.
HOW MANY HOURS TOTAL DO YOU THINK YOU SPENT PRACTICING AND RECORDING FOR THIS?
It took me a few days of heavy practicing and playing before I felt confident enough to record the parts. We spent a good few hours in the studio with Steve to record each part.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO SOMETHING METALLICA-RELATED LIKE THIS THAT SO MANY PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD HAVE TAKEN TO?
I feel blessed to be able to contribute to the Metallica world as a fan of the band myself.
DID YOUR DAD GIVE YOU ANY ADVICE OR POINTERS DURING THE PROCESS?
My dad told me to practice hard and put some time and effort into everything I do. I do my best to follow his suggestions as he is always very supportive.
WERE THERE ANY FUNNY, STRESSFUL OR PARTICULARLY STANDOUT MOMENTS FROM THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE THAT STICK OUT IN YOUR MIND?
I was a bit frustrated at first because I couldn't follow the arrangements as I studied them — some of the parts were edited, and the timing threw me off. But I eventually got it and I was pleased with the final result.
LASTLY, WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE METALLICA SONG?
There are too many classics, but if I had to choose one song I'd probably say "Leper Messiah"!