Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted recently opened up on his current relationship with the band. Newsted, who was a member between 1986 and 2001, recently appeared on Eddie Trunk’s SiriusXM show where he discussed his work and career. One of the questions that came up was about his current connection with the band to which he replied (transcript via Blabbermouth):
“I’ve texted back and forth with Lars [Ulrich] the last couple of days. We try to stay in touch — he and I do — and talk about whatever. He’s interested in [my] art a lot; he’s always been very supportive of that, so I’m grateful. But also with the music stuff…”
Interestingly enough, Jason also admits that he’s a fan of Lars Ulrich’s sons who have a band called Taipei Houston. He continued:
“And I know that his sons — I’m a fan of them and they’re fans of my stuff, and that’s a cool thing. It’s an incredible thing, actually. And I’ve got nothing but mad respect. That’s it. That’s what I’ve got.”
“And I’m so frickin’ proud of those guys. Still cutting it like that, man? C’mon now. And taking this big of a bite and going for shows all the way up through — what? — fall of ’24 or something? Frickin’ huge balls, dude. Incredible. How can’t you applaud that?
He continued with praises:
“I’m always surprised. It was obviously meant to be. Who has this kind of staying power? I mean, it’s such a unique thing — such a unique thing.”
Another thing that Jason touched upon during the chat was the issue of whether he ever talked with Rob Trujillo, the band’s now longest-running bassist, about performing his material. Asked on the matter, Newsted replied:
“We haven’t really had conversations with that kind of detail before. No. They sound killer right now. They have for a while live. They’ve got a great thing going, man, for real. It sounds killer.”
It’s been a long time since Jason left Metallica. Additionally, Jason’s position within the band always felt somewhat underrated from the perspective of large portion of Metallica’s fans. And, what’s more, plenty of fans still take time and energy to point out his great works, even on the oddly mixes “…And Justice for All” album that had some incredible bass lines.
In an interview published last year, Newsted also opened up on his treatment within Metallica and what sometimes made the band’s leaders, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, lash out at him. The first of many issues, as he explains, was when he recorded some new music with Devin Townsend back in the 1990s under the IR8 moniker.
Since Devin was still not a big shot in metal music and Jason did something outside of Metallica without consulting anyone, this didn’t sit well with James and Lars. Newsted recalled:
“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.’”
He also added:
“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.”
As of this moment, Metallica are celebrating the release of their new album “72 Seasons.” The 12-song record comes with a string of music videos which they’ve been releasing one at a time and each piece has its simple yet very effective clip. As of this writing, only the album’s final closing track “Inamorata” is to get its official video release.
Photo: Achim Raschka (13-06-09 RaR Newsted 10), Carlos Rodríguez/Andes (Lars Ulrich 2016)