“He fockin’ left the band,” screamed Lars Ulrich. Well, he surely “left” but we can discuss how things got to that point. At this point, most Metallica fans are aware of Jason Newsted’s treatment in Metallica. And the whole thing has its history and it had to start somewhere, right?
Well, during a recent chat with Metal Hammer, the former Metallica bassist recalled the origins of conflicts between him and the band’s leading duo, James and Lars. Reminded of a short-lived project he did with Devin Townsend called IR8 and how the problems with Metallica started over it, Newsted offered:
“This was the very origins. I had just established the Chophouse in ’92, and by ’94 we had all the gear. Devin came down at the age of about 22 and was an absolute fucking maniac… dude, an hour-and-a-half of sleep a day for a whole week! And every time he would pick up a guitar you get, ‘Widdle widdle widdle,’ and you’re like, ‘Dude, where in the hell did that come from?! Now play it backwards!'”
“It was the first real project we took time to track in the Chophouse. It’s just drums and bass, Devin doing some mad guitar solo over the top, I go in and scream the vocal – done. Raw production, but an incredible accomplishment, because I always wanted my own studio. The guys got wind of it and Lars said, ‘You gotta come up to the house.'”
At this point, Jason was still in Lars’ and James’ shadow. It’s as if they didn’t let him be as prominent as Cliff Burton. So he didn’t really know what to expect when they called him up. But that’s when he got to the ugly scolding part. Jason recalls:
“I didn’t really know what it was for, so I take my bass and go up there: ‘What’s up, guys?’ ‘Dude, you know you’re in Metallica now, don’t you? You can’t just be making music and sending out tapes to whatever fucker with whichever fucker. You do understand that, right?’ ‘Oh!’ I didn’t realize at all! I didn’t know about the politics; I was just sharing some metal with my friends! I pretty much broke down on that day in front of Lars and James. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, it won’t happen again!’ And that was the first time.”