Jason Newsted: 'It's Taken Me 12 Years To Get Over Metallica'

Former Metallica member Jason Newsted admits it's taken him 12 years to "come back to earth" after he left the band. He also announces solo album.

Ultimate Guitar

He was once the bass player for the most high profile heavy metal band in the world. But, after splitting with Metallica back in 2001, it has taken Jason Newsted twelve years to adjust:

"In my time with Metallica I went to every singe pre-show and every single after-show. There was eleven hundred people every week that I would look into their eyes, shake their hands and give them one minute.

"After I got out of Metallica there was all kinds of crazy, heavy emotions that nobody knows about. I did a very serious, reclusive deal: I built a ranch in Montana in the centre of a million acres of nothing. I just said, 'Screw it, man, I'm outta here.'

"It took me 12 years to come back to earth and here I am. My boots are on the ground and I'm ready to go."

Newsted has revealed that he is working on a solo project, tentatively titled Newsted Heavy Metal: "I have so much music from over the years. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what I want to unleash on everybody first.

"Anybody that cares about what I'm doing, I want to share with them. Everybody else, peace, man! There's room for everybody. But the people that go for it, let's go get it, you know?"

The bassist also pointed out that he got the gig in Metallica back in 1986 because he was a diligent tape trader, something that had impressed drummer Lars Ulrich.

"I had to put one tape at a time in an envelope, and figure out how much it was to Ireland, Spain or whatever. I did it very diligently. That's why Flotsam got to be where they were - and that's actually the very reason I got the gig with Metallica.

"When Lars Ulrich called out to all his contacts my name came out of everyone's mouth: 'This kid is organised.' I got the gig because I tape-traded and I was so committed to sharing the music."

106 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I would really love to listen to a band where Newsted performed vocal duties. His live performances on Live Shit are amazing.
    I was thinking the exact same thing. On B&P's "Creeping Death," I freaking love when Jason takes the lead.
    SOOO LEDDIT BE RITTUN SOO LEDDIT BE DUN Jason should've done the whole gig, IMO
    I reckon James and Jason at the same time on pretty much everything would have worked pretty damn well
    I think Newstead is awesome, hes really down to earth and just wants to get on with music. I think this interview on the reasons why he left metallica show him as a really cool guy who I think Metallica were stupid to lose..
    Maybe it's just me, but it sounds really pretentious when he says that his "children" are his music (paraphrasing). He does seem like a pretty cool dude, and he was right to leave the band that was so dysfunctional. Seems like he was the only one that had the balls to admit how he was feeling.
    Newsted comes across as really passionate about music and is a damn good bassist, the biggest mistake Metallica ever made in my opinion was almost completely removing the bass tracks on ...And Justice For All and underestimating Newsted as a bassist. It is a real shame that the Newsted era of Metallica had generally poor writing as this guy is awesome.
    the bass tracks were on justice. you cant hear the bass specifically because james and lars at the time had a mentality that if you could hear the bass, the electric guitar was 2db too low. theres an article from the recording engineer from justice here on UG somewhere mentioning it.
    Carl Hungus
    If that is the case then why can your hear Cliff's bass playing on everything pre Justice For All?
    @Carl Hungus: Because Cliff wouldn't have stood for that shit. James & Lars didn't respect Newsted, which was a huge failing of theirs. "Justice..." could have been SO much better, if they would have had the guitars, bass, & drums all at the same db level.
    He's said he has dedicated his life to music. So he won't get married and probably has given up other stuff, which I don't know off the top of my head.
    he was the best "back up" vocalist Metallica ever had in my opinion. not to mention he was a great bassist. at their acclaimed 1989 Seattle show during Creeping Death [
    ] he takes a verse at 60 and breaks out the heavy guttural vocals and completely takes the song up an extra notch. i always wondered how the band wouldve been if he was actually the lead singer in place of James after hearing that for the first time
    Jesus Christ, he puts out an amazing performance there! Sounds like Chuck Schuldiner when he takes over.
    Yeah his voice is really guttural, it's got a Lemmy sound to it... but lemmy isn't a very good singer. Hetfield had an amazing voice, especially back then, he had a crazy amount of power and force in his voice, yet you could still understand everything he was saying. Nobody had a voice like James Hetfield... Lots of people sound like Lemmy.
    From all the live acts i have seen whiplash at mexico city is the best for me (Buy the Cd if you must, the quality is way better)
    That scream in the solo... wow
    Man that's a rough picture of him. I'm kinda surprised it took him 12 years to get over the departure. He left just in time.
    "When Lars Ulrich called out to all his contacts my name came out of everyone's mouth: 'This kid is organised.' I got the gig because I tape-traded and I was so committed to sharing the music."
    And yet, if Robert Trujillo were an adamant downloader of music, they'd probably fire the poor fellow! Oh how times have changed. Jason Newsted was pretty kickass with Devin Townsend on his IR8 project and with Voivod, so I'm willing to check out whatever he's got.
    Lars Ulrich's principle behind suing napster was "nobody has the right to decide how my music is distributed but ME and MY band." He didn't care about the money and never has. Touring bands make most of their money from merchandise and concert tickets, not album sales. Try being more informed about subjects before you post about them. Figures you'd get a gold medal for your 2 cents too, this website is full of morons who'd agree with your narrow minded opinions, because they're 17 and don't know better.
    Touring bands make most of their money from merch and tickets, but record labels make their money from record sales. When they don't make money from record sales they can't fund tours for a band, so the band can't make money from merch. I'ts a damn vicious cycle. That's the way things work. Try being more informed, narrow minded 17-year-old moron who doesn't know better
    Not to mention the labels sometimes pressure the band into pretending to care.
    Labels rarely fund tours anymore. When you sign a record contract, it's actually a lot more a distribution, publishing and PR deal than anything else.
    You two do realize that travislausch registered in '02, right? His profile says he was born in '86. Now, while that doesn't make him any less ill-informed, he may be more informed than you suspect. And he's certainly not 17.
    Love this guy. +'d. And come on, can a guy crack a joke on the internet about Lars Ulrich being a NapsterNazi without having a hoarde of angry noobs on his ass? Jeez. I'm not trying to debate the subject. I just think it's funny.
    Okay, GenerationKILL, how is trading tapes different in that respect then? It is also taking control away from the band and how their music is distributed. Use logic.
    In this age of music, I am wondering if it would be more profitable for a band unsigned to a major record label, just to hit the road, and support their own fund. I haven't talked to many touring musicians, but the ones I have had the fortunate luck to talk with, have said; "Music is hard this day and age, if we don't tour, we don't get paid sh** by our record labels, that's the only thing keeping us afloat."
    Are you kidding me? Of course it was about the money.Once they got their taste of fame and fortune in the 80's after making the first four albums, they decided to channel their talent and make it "radio friendly" for the masses, Hence the Black Album. I'm not chiding them for it, I probably would of done the same thing in their situation, but that's the truth.
    Vicryl 2.0
    i would really love to see him fronting a serious band.. Papa Wheelie is great but damn the lyrics are terrible..
    Jason had so much energy onstage. And his back vocals were perfect. Rob lacks that. I'm looking forward to his solo project.
    He definitely has good vocals but Rob is a good bassist as well in my opinion.
    lamb of dog
    Metallica doesnt feel the same without him.
    True rob who expected to be amazing has been very mediocre both on records and live
    Rob IS amazing, he's just never going to be exactly all that he can be in Metallica, the same way that Cliff couldn't have been. There's a lot more in the tank than what we hear. He's a good singer too but not exactly in a Metallica backing way, more like Otis Redding. Jason was not only a member of Metallica but he came off as their greatest fan, and he was a fan, originally, so it makes sense. He had an intensity that really legitimised that band when they were getting flack from all quarters about '96 onward. He wasn't messing around and I say that respectfully toward the other members. They had intensity as well but it feels as if with Jason, the music of Metallica was his top priority, it was reason to get up in the morning always, whereas the other guys, it seemed to become more that more that music was just something they do. Do well, but no longer their raison d'etre.
    In my time with Metallica I went to every singe pre-show and every single after-show. There was eleven hundred people every week that I would look into their eyes, shake their hands and give them one minute. I was lucky enough to be in the tiny audience at Metallica's outdoor performance at the short-lived VH1 My Music Awards in 2000. Prior to the show, Jason came out and greeted everyone in the audience who wanted to meet him. Honestly, when he came up to me, I couldn't even say anything. Just shook his hand, got an autograph, and was completely speechless. Doubly meaningful because not only was it my first time seeing Metallica, but it was also Jason's last gig with the band, far as I remember.
    I think Rob is too good for metallica just lick how Chris Broderick is too good for Megadeth.
    Trujillo had big shoes to fill, and agree with all the above posts, after Cliff died, Newsted did an out standing job and was underated.
    Trujillo has great technique and is excellent in his own right.. Look at his work with Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves... He has the chops and uses his fingers alot like Burton... Newstead was great and still is but Trujillo is a better fit in my opinion.
    We could not deny the fact that Rob is one of the main factors of Death Magnetic being a point-back to the right direction for Metallica. At the same time he was an innovator by bringing in some ideas that worked for DM especially, All Nightmare Long and Suicide and Redemption. All four bassists of Metallica we're awesome - McGovney, Burton, Newsted and Trujillo.
    Jason is so underrated, seriously listen to his isolated bass tracks. They are clean and tight as ****!
    Jason Newsted has always been one of my favorite bassists. His power is unmistakable, especially if you saw Metallica live when he was still in the band. I saw him playing bass with Ozzy too, it was awesome!
    it's actually pretty hard watching him in some kind of monster, saying - this? we can't get over this? and in your heart, you feel his pain, knowing that a minute later james comes and says he totally understand him now. so what the hell did you break up over? ego issues? it really felt "really f%^&ing lame and weak" axcuse to break up with your bass player, watching that.
    Black Mustangs
    Man what is it about leaving Metallica that guys can't get over? I mean Dave Mustaine was still bitching about being kicked out 25 years later and now Jason says he took this long to get over it?
    ''newstead heavy metal'' - That's officially the dullest title I've ever heard.
    For me, this guy it will be forever, Metallica's bass player (not that I don't like Rob).
    Good to see something from him comming up, tough... I always had my bets that before this, he would somehow join Black Label Society, I don't know why.
    Hmmm, really? He was playing in his Echobrain band and then he did the Supernova thing and did some other collaborations. Also played with Ozzy... it's not like he was in a complete depression state for 12 years.
    That's what a typical depressed person does - Keeping one's self busy with collections and activities and trying to fill the void.
    And now that he is not depressed anymore... he will continue to keep himself busy with collections and activities! I know, but this article kinda made it sound like he was living in the middle of nothing for 12 years.
    You will soon learn the difference when you hear the post depression work he has... if he really is no longer depressed. but it kept reminding me of the fact that. One does not simply Get over Metallica.
    Jason is a really cool person, too bad Lars Ulrichebag does not think the same.
    My Last Words
    Don't really understand the downvotes. For the 10+ years in metallica they were always f**ing with him, what a shame.. Funfact: Did you know that a bass player actually took part in the heavy metal classic "..And Justice for All"?
    if he left in 2001, and it's now 2012, does this mean he's still not over metallica, or he's a time traveler?
    Seems funny that one of the reasons James and co ultimately split with Jason is because of he's desire to do side projects whilst still in Metallica. If only they listened to themselves when someone mentioned the name Lou Reed.
    It's good to hear from Jason again, good to know he's still out there and ready to kick **s
    I think Metallica's "stale-ness" has shown through since the black album. When musicians/artists can't "express themselves" and explore, the work suffers. All the guy wanted to do was jam out with some other guys. Maybe Hammett wouldn't sound EXACTLY the same after 30 years if he had some freedom.
    A ranch in the middle of Montana?! Jason's been living in the same state as me and yet none of us knew... It speaks volumes about how messed up Metallica was that they turned away their biggest fan. Albums in 1983, '84, '86, '88, and '91...then not until 1996? Load was awful (with the exception of King Nothing) and ReLoad had some decent tracks, but then nothing again until after Jason left. Sure, they released Binge & Purge and S&M but I'm sure Jason was more disappointed than any of the rest of us.
    Poor Jason it must have been so tough to sit back on his ranch and not have to work like the rest of us these past 13 years.These musicians are simply unbelievable.
    Chill your shit brother. His work with Flotsam and Jetsam shits all over metallica, what he should do is get back with them and show the 'tallica boys how thrash is supposed to be played
    If I won the lottery that's exactly what I would do; build a home on a 1000 acres in Montana. With all the accoutrements of course like an indoor shooting range, recording studio, etc. Sounds like heaven to me.
    What. The. Fuck. If SOMEONE is not drawing up the papers to get him back in the band after his incredible performance with them on the anniversary show, a lot of people need to lose their jobs. That god damn crawling mexican is a complete yes-man/hired help, and it's thanks to James not having a foil not named Lars that he's descended into greaser territory in his middle age. I want the fire breathing Metallica back, the band that was DANGEROUS, with a front man that acted like he OWNED the stage, the audience, the arena, the WORLD. That wasn't just the booze, surely? BRING JASONIC BACK HOME.
    'It's Taken Me 12 Years To Get Over Metallica' and you never did, since you keep cryin bout it...
    Carl Hungus
    You would be crying like a little girl with a snot bubble in you nose if the biggest band in the world sent you packing. Get off your ivory tower of perfection.
    What happened to that band Newsted started at the end of his time in Metallica? The one they showed in Some Kind of Monster
    Yes, because all people who are seventeen years old are ignorant. Generalisations are a bad thing, friend.
    This was intended as a reply to generationkill. The comments section clearly has other ideas though.
    I remember watching the Binge and Purge video's and seeing how they treated him. They explained that Jason became a scape-goat because of Cliffs' death. I always respected Jason and thought he was really the only one that had his head on straight. I wish him all the luck and success.