Jason Newsted: Why I Ended the Newsted Band

UG exclusive: "It cost me an awful lot of money - hundreds of thousands of dollars."

logo
Ultimate Guitar
Jason Newsted: Why I Ended the Newsted Band
17

Jason Newsted talked about his decision to disband the Newsted group, telling UG interviewer Steven Rosen:

"There was a couple things that were very good and then a couple things were very bad.

"When it came down to the money stuff and just having to wear all the hats and doing the writing, singing, playing and paying for everything, it was just too much of a load.

"The good things that happened were the shows came off very well and was received very well. The European stuff was fantastic and I got a couple good opportunities opening for Iron Maiden at Sonisphere and the Download Festivals.

"Those were wonderful - respect being shown that I couldn't have maybe predicted. We got respect from the generations of bands that followed Metallica and Voivod and people we taught without knowing it."

The musician added: "I did the Newted band thing at my 50th birthday to prove that I still had the guts and I could still go and show those guys half my age and run 'em around the stage.

"I knew I could still take it to 'em and I had to prove that to myself. As we started going, we got people like [Mike] Mushok to play and having that kind of talent around you inspired you to do better and inspired me to want to take it around and show off to people.

Jason concluded: "It cost me an awful lot of money - hundreds of thousands of dollars to take the Newsted band around to the 22 countries we played. But it was worth it for the lessons I learned and the respect that was shown to us and the camaraderie of the band.

"But I couldn't continue because the business is such a harsh thing now and so different than what I had known."

Newsted were active between 2012 and 2014, featuring Jason on bass and vocals, Jessie Farnsworth and Mike Mushok on guitars, and Jesus Mendez on drums. Their sole full-length album saw its release in August 2013 under the title of "Heavy Metal Music."

52 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sebnam
    Jason seems like a great guy and the Newsted album is pretty great too. Too bad he decided to disband the band, but I get it. He also has a lot going on with his art ofcourse, and he can live of the royalties of Metallica, so he really doesn't need to keep touring.
    DissonantTimbre
    Jason Newsted only has three songwriting credits in Metallica's studio albums. "Blackened", "My Friend of Misery", and "Where the Wild Things Are." I doubt he makes much from those.
    angelnodal
    True but also the other guys made fun of him in the year and a half video for packing sandwiches and being an all around cheapskate. Made a ton of money on those tours that if it was invested correctly and properly use more than likely set him up for life. Unfortunately the way the industry is setup nowadays, there ain't much return for an investment unless you plan on hitting it hard with years and years of touring. Especially if you want to play big venues and go around in a bus or a touring van. 
    Anjohl
    He probably makes five figures a year off "Metallica" alone!
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    He was probably put into a contract which meant he'd get very little of Metallica's earnings plus only 5 songwriting credits. Performance royalties aren't a big cut.
    T4D
      "It cost me an awful lot of money - hundreds of thousands of dollars "   confirm it's pretty bloody hard to make money from music today,  even with a name that gets free press and media attention he lost money trying to make it in the biz
    Anjohl
    Well, non-mainstream genres are ways tough to make money in.
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    Plus most of the fans of those have the attitude that "no good music gets made today even though I didn't even bother to look and am comparing 80's thrash metal to current pop music".
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    I wouldn't say he has a name that gets free press and media attention. He only has a small amount of that. Once you leave a big band the reality is 9 times out of 10 you become forgotten about and make much less. Just ask Paul Di'Anno and Blaze Bayley they were in IRON MAIDEN and now they play small clubs for a living and are in the news very occasionally.
    Creimer
    Woah, it really shows how important marketing is in music industry nowadays..
    TheShipSong
    But he didn't buy sandwiches with those millions, he should have saved a lot! :o 
    eatfresh1736
    He once gave a very in depth interview, saying that he was told by a big Sonisphere promoter, that if he put a band together, the guy will get him gigs all over, and then lead into some later deals. According to Jason, when he later tried to contact the guy, the guy was like "What? Who the hell is Newsted?" He also got really bad pneumonia during the tour and had to cancel a bunch of shows. Everyone who pushed for him to do the band just up and disappeared. I'm glad I got to see them, because while their songs aren't anything groundbreaking, they really brought the energy, and capped off the set with Whiplash.
    anguyen92
    I think it was the guy that was promoting the Soundwave Australia festival that made these promises and as we have discovered over these years, that guy eventually became a source of why the big Australian festivals (Soundwave and Big Day Out) was no more.  Newsted around that time was going to in Soundwave and a festival in Singapore where they would be playing behind Alter Bridge and Alice in Chains and, for some reason, they bowed out.  Some thought it was due to Dave Mustaine (since Megadeth would be playing in Soundwave as well), but Megadeth ending up not playing on the festival as wll.
    ryanbwags
    I was wondering what happened. One day he just disappeared. Nothing. No press release about Newsted or anything. Just gone.  I was kind of hoping to get my chance to meet him when he was on tour with this band, but he never got to St Louis. 
    KingV911
    It does kind of suck that even fairly successful bands basically lose money by making an album.  
    just_henry
    It's the touring that costs the most money. But yeah recording as well as there is almost no recoupe from sales
    Shavyi
    I've always asked myself why he would stop that project so abruptly, but knowing that it is for financial reasons, that's a bummer.  A loss for the heavy metal scene, in which I believe he still had his place : that band was a coherent project, and showed some unknown talents (voice and songwriting). 
    deggs37
    He should have just stuck to the states instead of 22 countries to start out.
    PuckMugger
    Dude, use mules pulling carts with your equipment, use illegals to setup your gear and sponge off your fans for food and a place to stay...problem solved.
    shamic.co
    Damn shame. Damn damn shame. Surely there must be more affordable ways to make and play music?
    angelnodal
    Unfortunately these guys are making pennies from any and all streaming services and that's only because they don't get enough subscribers specifically streaming his music like say Metallica, AC-DC or GNR can have. Touring he's an opener for a bigger band and though he might get some cool gigs because of his name/reputation and previous relationship with some of these guys (always pays to be nice and friendly), a lot of times these decisions fall to the business managers/label executives that might rather put a fellow label mate and/or is willing to pay for the opening band to get exposure.  His best bet is to do what Izzy Stradlin's been doing, self record his albums, put them out through the internet and occasionally do an interview or small gig to promote the album. He's more outgoing than Izzy so I'm sure he'd be willing and able to get a bit more exposure. 
    canoenascar12
    I'm not picking on him, but I would also definitely chalk it up to the cost of music videos, not making the money back from shirts and album sales, and hiring mushok. 
    Irwin Navarro
    Not a lot would pay to see his band play original music but I'm pretty sure plenty of people would pay to see him play Metallica hits for the sake of nostalgia. I say, he should get the band back together and do some Metallica-setlist shows with some originals on the side (sort of like what Slash did in SMKC). I would love to see him sing songs like Enter Sandman, Sad But True, and even Nothing Else Matters.  Either that or I hope Portnoy picks him up for a side project. 
    OriginOfFeces
    Which means he is doing something for the audience and to generate money instead of having a blast and probably doing what he loves to do. Think about it for a second. This dude left Metallica because of certain reasons a good 17 years ago now. Why would he want to dig all that stuff up again and try to make a dime out of it? 
    [Azrael]
    Holy shit, 17 years. Fuck.
    OriginOfFeces
    Yeah man! I still remember when I heard the news that he left Metallica. I feel old now haha. Trujillo is already longer in Metallica than Jase was. 
    ugmindfreak
    Cant just make another album and play a hanfull of shows here and there? Seriously? 
    eatfresh1736
    Yeah, like oh my god, why can't he sink a couple thousand of his own money into recording, and another couple thousand for promotions, and a few tens of thousands to travel with crew, so he could make no profit? What an ass!
    luke.g.henderso
    Maybe 22 countries was a bit too much? Surely US, Canada, UK, Northern, Central, and Western Europe (around festival season), and maybe Japan and Australia if it was worth ?
    terranraptor
    when you are basically an independent band you can't really afford to bring the "big sound" everywhere.. i have no idea what kind of rigs they were using, but i assume they weren't metallica size rigs. If your band isn't metallica, ac/dc, iron maiden or other giant name in rock and metal, there is no reason to ever bring a fuckton of amps on stage. I don't know much about the biz, but i assume that's the biggest expense - moving all the gear, hiring all the crew to do it etc.
    Anjohl
    Ok, now for sure go back to Metallica, and boot Roman Reigns out.
    canoenascar12
    rob trujillo is one of the best bassists on the planet and is a much kinder person than you. newstead is also awesome and equally as sweet, both guys just have different skill sets. don't be mean to kind people who could stomp out the city you live on. they both are buddies
    Maiden95
    Could it also have something to do with that hilarious "As the Crow Flies" video?
    angelnodal
    The cool thing is he's still alive and well and can at his discretion continue to write music and hopefully put it out through download and streaming services, and do local shows/tours. Its really a matter of readjusting the thought process to not investing hundreds of thousands of dollars with the hopes of making thousands in profits. Seems like promoters nowadays want a huge cut for the minimal amount of work. Probably always like that except in the past you at least felt like the guy setting up shows was at least into the type of music you played. Nowadays not so much.