bassist Jason Newsted
has discussed his struggle with painkiller addiction for the first time.
A freak injury in 2006, where he tried to catch a bass amp, left both his shoulders seriously damaged and led to years of surgery so he could regain use of his hands, according to Noisecreep
His arms are better now, but years of medication left him with a serious addiction to painkillers and an "ugly"
stint in rehab.
"When I had my shoulder surgeries, they took over a three-and-a-half to four-year span, back and forth, left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder, right shoulder,"
Newsted told a local newspaper in Montana. "With complete bicep tears and rotator cuff tears and very ugly rehab and therapy. Painkiller addiction, the whole deal."
During his recovery, playing music was out of the question. "I only had one arm at a time, so I started painting. Now, I can use both hands equally for everything. That's how the art came. I had to have something to do because I could not play my instrument."
Meanwhile, Newsted has sung the praises of his former bandmate James Hetfield, whose performance skills still inspire him.
"He's the best at playing and singing it's just impossible to do some of those parts that he plays on guitar and still sing a straight vocal line ... He's just untouchable in that way,"
he told Geeks of Doom
. "Being exposed to that and being able to let it rub off on you ... I will pay a lot of credit to that."