Tye Trujillo is already one of the most accomplished musicians on the planet and he’s only just turned 18. Having debuted on the international stage at the age of 12, filling in for Fieldy with KoRn in Mexico, Tye has gone on to forge his own sound with his bands OTTTO, Feed The Beast and the ill-fated Suspect208.
There’s no ignoring the lad’s last name though, and while on the surface you could easily surmise that Tye is very much his father’s son, he is so much more than that. To simply point the finger at his family and state his lineage as the sole reason for his success, is to entirely undermine the drive, talent, hard work and dedication this grounded and humble young man has applied to his craft.
Having just wrapped up his first-ever visit to Australia as bass player for Suicidal Tendencies, I got to sit down with this amazing young bloke to discuss his impressive music resume, skating and surfing, his life growing up backstage and the musicians that left Tye a bit starstruck.
Having followed his career for some time, I was a bit nervy, so I thought I’d start the conversation with a deep and powerful question (watch the video or read on below).
DW: How are ya?
Tye: Good, man. It’s been a great tour, man
DW: This is your first time in Australia.
Tye: It’s my first time, man.
DW: Your old man Rob was here with Metallica 10 years ago, I thought you may have come down then, being a gun skater and surfer. But this is your first time. How’s it been?
Tye: It’s been great. I got some surfing in, checked out the beach towns, hanging out around. This is awesome. Reminds me back home in California. The whole vibe and everything. So this is definitely one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited.
DW: Have you had a chance to do any skating while you’re here in Australia?
Tye: Not in Australia. Not so much lately. I kind of drifted off more towards surfing because skating is kind of sketchy when you’re playing music. You don’t want to fall and hurt your wrist or anything. So at least with surfing, you fall in the water and it’s all good.
DW: The fall’s not so hard
Tye: Yeah, but I still love skating and stuff.
DW: And your time in Suicidal Tendencies… You don’t want to get hurt skating, but you’re on stage every night with Mike Muir and Ben Weinman, that’s got to be dangerous enough in itself. How many concussions have you copped being on stage with those two?
Tye: Luckily, I haven’t had any injuries. But I’ve seen injuries happen around me.
DW: Hahaha. Do you think that maybe they going ‘Look, try not to knock Tye over?’
Tye: Maybe. I mean, they’re aware. I’ve bumped into Mike before. Haha. There’s little bumps here and there. I think Dean, the other guitarist, he’s gotten hit by Ben, and Mike’s even gotten hit by Ben. But it really adds to the performance, you know?
Photo Gallery by Charlyn Cameron. Insta: @chuck_stuff
DW: I’m just waiting to see if someone gets knocked out on stage. On your spot in Suicidal Tendencies, it’d be easy to say look, you got it because of your family ties. But like I said, I’ve been following your career for a while. Your old man used to put up videos of you playing bass. I think you were as young as eight, even seven. You’ve always been a hard-working prolific bassist. But I imagine Mike just didn’t give you the job. He would have put you through the processes. How was it for you getting this job as a bass player for Suicidal?
Tye: So originally, I first played with Suicidal for like one fill-in show. I was like 15 years old, a few years back. And this was when Ra was still in the band. And Dave was still in the band. And Ra had to figure out some visa stuff in like Chile, because he’s from there. So originally, he was not going to be able to make the gig. And then Mike asked if I could fill in for that gig, because he knew that I could play stuff and seen my bands.
So I did the fill-in gig. And then the pandemic hit and nothing really happened for a while. Then the other band members, like the rhythm section, went off to go over and play with other bands. So Mike was coming out of the pandemic… looking for a new lineup. So then we played together. He liked the kind of youth vibe in the band. So he reached out to us, to my family and asked if I was down to go ahead and play with them. And I was like, sure man.
So I reviewed the songs and went out and that was like two years ago, 2021, and I’ve been playing with them ever since. But it’s been great man. They’re all great guys. I learned so much from them.
DW: Yeah, for sure. And look, Mike, I won’t say what age he is, but we know how old he is. I couldn’t match his energy man. It has to be guys your age, I think because he’s such a powerhouse. But this is not your first major gig. I remember you filling in for KoRn when you were, I think you were 12!?
Tye: Yeah I was 12 years old. It was a wild experience for sure. You know, being able to see all those people react to heavy music that way. They love heavy music down there in South America. So it was really amazing to see, and play those songs too. At the time, I was just kind of getting into their music and it really just helped me get into that genre.
DW: I’ve seen I’ve seen videos of crowds across South America. It looks like they’re putting a dent in the side of the world. They’re just next level. But you’re not just in Suicidal, you’ve got your main band, OTTTO. How old were you when that whole thing started?
Tye: Yeah, so that thing started when I was like 12 as well. Brian, he’s the singer/guitarist. So him and I, we were in a previous band where we would play, kind of learning, play covers and write a couple of originals here and there. But then Brian and I were wanting to take it more seriously and write more of our own stuff. And the two other guys from the band wanted to do the same thing, too. So we kind of just went off and split off and both did our own kind of bands. That’s how OTTTO started. We were starting to play with our drummer and write new tunes and we’ve been going ever since. So that was a few years ago. Like, six years ago.
DW: Yeah. Six years ago. You’re 18 and you’ve been in a band for six years. (Blows me away). You’ve released two albums, the latest of which is Life Is A Game. How’s that been going? You’ve been playing that live?
Tye: Yeah, we were playing that live and it’s been good. You know, we’ve been playing through those songs, great songs live. Especially ‘My Pain’ is a fun one to play.
DW: Yeah. Killer tune man
Tye: Thanks man. But yeah, it’s been good. Obviously we’re writing new stuff. We’re constantly being creative.
DW: I suppose the other thing you’ve done is you played at the recent Metallica album launch celebration. You did those shows with Bastardane and Taipei Houston as well. You’ve got those sorts of crowds, which are drawn in from Metallica, but you’ve got your own fan base that has been around for quite some time. I see you playing iconic venues up and down LA’s Sunset Strip. Is that all going well for you guys?
Tye: Yeah, it’s going well. We’re doing a lot of shows around the area. We’re currently planning a little California run right now for next month. So I will be announcing those dates pretty soon. But yeah, we’re playing with our friends [and] bands that we’re friends with that we like their music and it’s a lot of fun. Bastardane is a great band that we’ve been touring with a lot. We actually just did a tour in August with them which was pretty badass, where we hit the East Coast, Canada, the South a little bit, California, and so it’s been a good ride
DW: They’re a killer band, their album Is This Rage? is very good too. It has to be turned up loud, for sure.
Tye: Yeah. Man. It’s heavy, man. It’s great.
DW: Talking about heavy, your other band Feed The Beast is also a very heavy band. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure your drummer in OTTTO is the same in Feed The Beast.
Tye: That’s correct. Yeah.
DW: That’s the rhythm section.
Tye: That’s the rhythm section. The golden rhythm section, haha.
DW: How’s Feed The Beast going?
Tye: It’s going good. We’re kind of on a search for shows right now, a little bit. But we’re also writing some new stuff.
DW: Well you’ve just released your new EP, Silhouettes.
Tye: Silhouettes! We released that. That went well. We’re constantly writing new stuff
DW: So I wonder, how do you go juggling the three bands? Suicidal obviously draws a lot of your time. You had a recent [schedule] clash where your dad Rob had to fill in for you.
Tye: Yeah (smiling).
DW: I often wonder is there a bit of heckle in the house later on. Like, ‘Ah it’s alright, I’ll fill in for you man,’ or is he just not that kind of guy?
Tye: Well, I mean there was a little bit of heckle. Because OTTTO had a gig that same day, and I was like, well, is this gig movable? Because Mexico City was the Suicidal show. So I was like, shoot, is it movable? And then they said it wasn’t movable and it was a good paid gig, so I couldn’t really skip it, you know? So we’re like, oh shoot, what do we do? My dad was like, ‘oh I could fill in’. I was like alright, the fans would love that. Especially in Mexico too.
DW: Well it made news around the world. It was like, Rob’s filling in for his boy. It was very cool. But another band of yours that I covered a few years ago was Suspect208. It was brief, four or five months, it was two songs and done. That of course had London Hudson, Slash’s son, and Noah Weiland, Scott Weiland’s boy. That first song killed, ‘Long Awaited’ got like a million hits on YouTube. And then that was it. Without going into the reasons for it’s demise, I’m wondering if you still keep in contact with all three, London, Noah and guitarist Niko Tsangaris.
Tye: Sometimes I’ll keep in contact with Noah here and there. I think he lives a little down south a little further. And we’ve played in the same lineup as London and Niko. They’re killing it in their own band right now.
DW: Yeah, S8NTELEKTRIC.
Tye: Yeah. So they’re, they’re doing it. We’ve been on the same lineup, I think one festival a couple of years back. But you say what’s up, and they’re great musicians. I haven’t talked to them lately, but I know they’re out there killing it. We see on the socials.
Suspect was like, during the pandemic, it was kind of like a project thing we wanted to develop, because there was so much time on our hands. So we kind of just did a couple songs. I played bass personally as kind of like a friend. You want to support them and stuff.
When things came back to normal, [we] kind of merged into going into our own bands as shows came back along. But it was a great way to stay focussed during that time.
DW: And like those guys, you have a unique outlook on music. Like, I grew up with music. You grew up in it. I grew up watching shows. You grew up backstage. I’ve talked to guys like Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son. I’ve talked to Igor Cavalera, Max’s boy. And I asked them what I’m going to ask you as well. Is there anyone other than your family and the guys in Suicidal, that you’ve met backstage that had a profound affect on your direction in life, either musically or personally? Maybe even someone that you got starstruck by?
Tye: Yeah. So I think Alice In Chains was playing with Metallica at one festival. Metallica was doing the European tours at the time. This was when I was a little kid. I’d listen to a lot of Alice in Chains in the car because my dad would be playing it. And that was amazing seeing them live. And I remember Jerry Cantrell handed me a guitar pick and I was super stoked.
DW: Oh, wow.
Tye: Yeah. And then I met Mike Inez, [who] played bass in the band. And it was just awesome. They sounded great live. That was a big, I guess, a shocking kind of happy experience for me. I was super stoked to be able to meet them and see them live.
DW: Plus your old man played with Jerry on the solo records back at the turn of the century.
DW: Now, you’ve only turned 18, but you’ve also already achieved so much. Where to from here? What are your goals and aspirations? What are you hoping to achieve from here on?
Tye: From here on? Well, record some new OTTTO stuff soon hopefully. Get some more material gathered with both bands OTTTO and Feed The Beast. Try to just hop on some more shows and try to take on the world with some music.
DW: Well, look man, your work ethic is to be commended. Your creative output, the amount of stuff you’ve produced with the four bands we’ve mentioned. It’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Is there any chance of OTTTO or Feed The Beast making their way down here in any capacity?
Tye: I really hope so. That’s one thing because I think all the guys from both bands would love it down here. Because I love it down here. So I really hope to come back here as soon as possible.
DW: That’s it. Yeah, you guys come down. Bring Metallica as a support if you like.
DW: But man a genuine honour to get to meet you finally Tye.
Tye: Yeah you too
DW: You’re an absolute legend. Thank you so much. Cheers, man.
Interview by Duane James @duanejames666
Keep up with Tye via his Instagram