Newsted Still Doesn't Regret Quitting Metallica

Former Metallica man Jason Newsted has recounted the moment he chose to quit the thrash giants almost exactly 12 years after he made his decision.

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Former Metallica man Jason Newsted has recounted the moment he chose to quit the thrash giants almost exactly 12 years after he made his decision, ClassicRockMagazine reports.

The bassist joined the band in 1986 soon after the death of Cliff Burton. His departure was announced in February 2001, but he'd called a meeting the previous month at which he explained why he thought they needed a year away. When James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett refused, he knew he had to go.

Speaking on Nikki Sixx's radio show Newsted says: "One of the most important things in life but especially when we do this kind of accelerated lifestyle is when to say when."

He'd become a Metallica member just 25 days after the bus crash that killed Burton, and seven days after that he embarked on his first world tour with them. Asked if it was a "massive amount of stress" he replies: "So much. On everybody: 22-23-year-old kids, metalheads, all dress the same, act the same, feel the same, drink the same. We didnt know about the grieving process."

From the moment they started that tour, he says, they "didn't turn the faucet off until 2001." He continues: "We went so hard and so long for 15 years. There was never an assessment of the mental deal. Nobody ever came to say, 'How you doing, bro?' in a compassionate, caring manner.

"It was like, 'Keep rockin', guys - you're making the world go round for however many thousand people that get paid by what you're doing.'

"When it came to it, 12 years ago tomorrow, I was addicted to painkillers, my neck was jacked, James was considerably drunk. They were having their first divorces, first children. Big stuff going on in their lives.

"I called the meeting. I said, 'Dudes, look at us. My suggestion is: one year off, everybody recalibrate, get back to this and let's go crush it again.' That's what I said. Those words."

Newsted says he "blew himself out" when it took his bandmates less than 25 minutes to reject the idea. "Management comes in, 'MTV, next thing, make us money," and I'm a puddle on the floor. I'm like, 'There's my answer.'"

He was replaced by Robert Trujillo in 2003 and later went on to settle his differences with his ex-colleagues, appearing at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in 2009 and also at their 30th anniversary shows two years later. He recently admitted he knew he'd been "a d-ck" during parts of his Metallica career. He's now working with his own band, Newsted, who recently released their debut EP, "Metal".

58 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pretty sure we had this same article a week or two back.
    Why is so much attention focused on the possible regret about a decision that was made nearly 12 years ago?
    People still ask Slash about Guns N' Roses and look how long ago that was.
    He tried to help them off of that crash-course. Too much stress combined with that self-destructive Metallica attitude we all know and love can be REALLY bad. Props to Jason for trying to help them. It was probably for the best that everything happened the way it did.
    It feels like a long time ago that Rob joined, but he still feels like the new bassist.
    Vicryl 2.0
    more bad ass than what metallica is putting out recently
    this is my first time seeing this vid since its been released. not feeling it.
    I'm trying hard to like it. I really want Newsted to do well with this new project. I will probably give it a few more listens and/or check out the other stuff on the EP.
    Weird seeing Newsted as a frontman. I've always had a lot of respect for him. Seemed to be the only one in Metallica to have any integrity, as much as I love the band...
    Why would he? His new stuff seems more promising than anything Metallica has done recently . Im really looking forward to his debut album.
    I still like him more than Robert. Jason's right for Metallica,he has that...Metallicaness in him. Robert should be somewhere else (still great on the bass though)
    well it must have been good for him. i mean look at him. so healthy looking....
    If Newsted hadn't left, Metallica would have died. Thank you Jason Newsted for the sacrifice. "It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one."
    good to see it from Jason's point of view, i can totally imagine how things must've been.
    Still? It's been over a decade! I'm pretty sure if he had regrets, they would have occured long ago.
    Are we going to get updated on this every few weeks now yeah?
    Oh, by the way, did you hear that Newsted still doesn't regret quitting Metallica?
    I wonder what the band would have been like if they took his advice and took a year off
    I'm willing to bet it wouldn't have mattered and everything would have turned out the same. He doesn't even mention in this interview that he was also disgruntled about James not letting him do side projects, and that was also a major factor in him quitting.
    Good point. This just shows that it was far from being just one thing that caused him to quit. It could be that he didn't want to re-hash that (side-project) stuff again here on Nikki's show, since that bit was pretty much covered elsewhere, previously. I'm not saying that any of this is new stuff, either. It could also be that he's maybe taken flak for the side-project talk (perhaps that it was petty), so he's moved on to the aspects which are more relatable to everyone.
    They ended up taking the year off anyway didnt they? For James' rehab
    And while they were on that year off, Lars, Kirk, and Bob Rock went to see Jason's side project and admitted to being jealous of him. That is, of course, if you take the Some Kind of Monster film seriously at face value. A lot of this kind of makes you think Jason was the only one at that point with his head on straight.
    I don't believe him honestly. Even in Some Kind of Monster he was wanting to rejoin but they already had Rob in the band. Plus at the RARHOF induction Jason shook his head sarcastically when ROb told James thanks for letting him join the band. Jason wanted back in deep down but Ronb was already in the band. They are both great bassists
    Why would he regret quitting after so long? Money =/= happiness and he has enough to live comfortably.
    UG, nobody cares. Why are all of these articles so lame? Isn't there something interesting that you can talk about?
    YOU'RE lame.
    Are you seriously telling me that you like hearing about this? I mean, this is ANOTHER UG article about some other website saying something. Is that what you enjoy?
    It's still news to me, dammit!!
    So why don't you go follow Classic Rock Magazine? Then you'll get the information sooner, and more than likely, it'll be more accurate. Sorry to get butt-hurt, but I've been here for like 7 years and I'm really getting tired of these bullshit articles. It's always some other site that does the work, haha. I mean, the interviews here are pretty cool and the the lessons and the forum, etc... But this is something that another website posted.
    I was joking. But to answer your question: it's certainly not going to keep me up at night.
    But hasn't everything they put out since he left been significantly shittier?? I dont think this was best for the band, unless its just coincidence.
    Hell, everything they put out after Burton passed has gotten steadily shittier, with the SLIGHT exception of Death Magnetic, only because St. Anger was so exceptionally bad.
    I have to make an exception with the Black Album also. I still find the Black Album as good as Kill Em All and Master of Puppets.
    AJFA is their best album, and Black Album is their worst album. My opinion and I'm sticking to it.
    On one thing I agree, ...And Justice For All is to me their best album. The Black Album pales in comparison to the previous 4 but it's nonetheless a great album, fantastic production with some great songs and after the Metallica gig I saw last year, I gained a new appreciation for it.
    The same logic can be applied to the fact all new Metallica albums with Jason were getting worse and worse.
    Considering the nearly non-existent creative input he had on them and that their worst album by far was made without him, Jason is the last person to blame.
    Jason should be ashamed of himself throwing his longtime friends under the bus. No class at all. Good riddance, he sucked compared to Cliff.
    He isn't throwing anybody under the bus...And what is with all this Cliff worship...He was badass, but had he not been killed I doubt we would hear all the Cliff comparisons.
    I thought Jason left because James wouldn't let Jason get more involved in his Echobrain side project? James said, 'no' and that was the straw that broke the camel's back for Jason. I mean, I suppose it was a complicated scenario with different factors. It wasn't any one thing probably but a culmination. I can certainly say though that what it tells us is that Jason was never an equal in that band. His suggestion of a break was swept aside, he was not allowed to have any kind of meaningful musical career outside of Metallica. He was always made to know his place and I think that's wrong because he did more to legitimise that band throughout the 90s than any other member. His energy and presence on stage gave that band an edge and it's something that's been missing ever since he left.
    The way I see it, Newsted has always been underappreciated by their bandmates in Metallica. I haven't listened to Newsted solo music, I'm sure it is better than what Metallica released 20 years ago. For such incompetent composers, they seem eager for attention. Well, I guess I just do not like Metallica's music except ones in the RTL era.