Jason Newsted Admits Painkiller Addiction

He sustained serious injuries trying to catch a bass amp in 2006, but the painkillers led to an "ugly" stint in rehab. Meanwhile, he says his former Metallica bandmate James Hetfield is "the best at playing and singing."

Ultimate Guitar

Former Metallica 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."

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    Anyone tried playing "Battery" and sing it full throttle? Let me just tell you, the co-ordination between the vocals and the riffs is completely nonsense! Dunno how Hetfield does it night after night even at this age.
    It's the same with Megadeth too, I have no idea how Dave plays Holy Wars and sings.
    I know! At times, I can barely play the verse riff (correctly), let alone even think about singing over it.
    Do Re Mi
    He has to let himself drool a lot. I saw him play Rust In Peace all the way through. So much spittle.
    I actually think he mentioned that at one point, he joked about how stupid he was to write alle these complex rhytm sections on Rust in Peace, when he knew that he had to sing while playing them. Think it was in relation to the tours they did recently where they played the album in its entirety.
    Holy Wars is simple to me, because the vocal and rhythm have common accents. Battery is a nightmare because the vocal and rhythm have accents about a semiquaver off each other. Most people that claim to sing and play it are doing it wrong.
    Obvious troll is obvious.
    It's not automatically trolling if someone mentions Megadeth in a Metallica article.
    Yeah, God forbid someone actually like both Metallica and Megadeth.
    Well, it appears as if no one can prove the "ballbag" wrong then. sonofgkex: Are you forbidden to write the word "testicles" because your mother will take away your internet privileges? Or is it because you physically lack the word in question? Please, I encourage you to respond. bmarlatt1685: For the record, I legally own both band's respective discographies in each one's entirety, and appreciate both Metallica and Megadeth in the same capacity. So please, don't assume you know anything about the argument I'm making without actually reading my comment.
    link no1
    1) Testiclebag would be a pretty shitty insult. 2) I own both bands discographies legally aswell. I don't see what you're point is though considering you where still trying to imply that if anybody leaves a Megadeth comment on a Metallica related article (or vise versa) then it automatically an attempt at trolling.
    Sure it is. Ever notice how Metallica is never brought up in a Dave Mustaine / Megadeth related article? Prove me wrong if I am. Lo and behold, Megadeth has once again taken over the comments, and in a Jason Newsted article yet.
    What I learned in thrash is you don't over-think it. You should be unconscious while doing it... Thrashing your way to the last note is how it should be done.
    *Raises hand* Both battery and holy wars as it was mentioned arround here. Singing them wasn't hard (at least for me) but yeah, the co-ordination took me a good while, at least a month for both.
    Dr Funkenstein
    "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," So true.
    Dude that isnt true. James hetfield is no where close to being as good at Rob flynn! HE's still good though.
    James is top notch. That's all there is to it. One of the best metal frontmen we've ever seen.
    I have a lot of respect for Rob Flynn, but think about what you're saying, man! Flynn himself credits Hetfield as being a huge influence. Hetfield was one of the first to do it (at least with the level of intensity required from both the vocal and guitar parts), and he is still one of the best. Admittedly his voice isn't what it used to be, but his coordination is absurd.
    I'm not that he's bad. He good but I am going to stick to my guns and say rob Flynn is better. It's called an opinion.
    Honestly I dunno what's wrong with you people, sure Hetfield did it first, sure Hetfield inspired Flynn, but Machine Head has some far more difficult rhythms than Metallica, and Flynn nails them and sings at the same time. Pick up a guitar and try it for yourself. Machine Head even use upstrokes in their riffs!
    link no1
    I love both bands but Hetfield plays and sings much harder things at the same time than Rob does. For a start a lot of Rob's vocals are not that hard for that type of style, especially compared to some of the vocal melody's that James does. Also why does it matter that Machine Head uses upstokes more? Infact, Hetfield can play Machine Head's songs using down strokes only and looks like he is having an easier time doing so than Rob himself. Go ahead, search for "James Hetfield Aesthetics of Hate", I'll wait.
    you were winning me over till you bragged about the upstrokes.... been doing that for years, really not much to it. just gives you a slightly different sound.
    Gotta agree on that! Machine heads rythm tracks are near impossible to sing and play at the same time
    try to play and sing "sad but true" - to sing N' play that stuff you must be more kind of a "drummer" than a singer and a guitarist
    I know what you mean! As a drummer myself, I often found myself being quite frustrated at former guitarists' lack of rhythmic awareness. I wished some of them would take some basic drum lessons to appreciate rhythm, tempo, how to count when there are no notes and how all of these are important to keeping in time! Also Newstead kicks ass.
    Jesus, you are SOOO right! I spend most of my time with my students working on rhythm. There's this huge focus on notes, scales and modes when most (yes MOST) learning guitarists don't have the rhythm to wait and count a dotted minim.
    Yes! I actually took music theory classes in school, so I wasn't too bad, but ever since I started dabbling on the drums my sense of rhythm has improved tenfold.
    What a champ to be able to combat all of that and still have the drive to release an EP and tour. Gotta give credit to that! It's hard work on the road even if you're the most healthy specimen.