JASON NEWSTED: Fronting A Band Is ‘A Little Bit Scary And It’s Also Really Fun’


Troy Culpan of May The Rock Be With You recently conducted an interview with former METALLICA, VOIVOD and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist and current NEWSTED frontman Jason Newsted. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

May The Rock Be With You: So why was now the right time to unleash NEWSTED on the world?

Jason: Destiny chose it, man. There was no plan, I swear to God. I just went in to make this little demo tape, and somebody heard “Soldierhead” and it took off,and the next thing you know, we’ve got a world tour and managers and all that stuff. I swear to God. I never, ever, ever, ever planned on having a big band again, or putting my name on it or anything — it just happened — and people said, “Go for it,” and kept encouraging me. And actually, I went to play with the METALLICA guys at the end of 2011 and I got all excited about playing again, I wrote some songs, gave them to my buddies, we turned them into something. Next thing you know, it’s eighteen months later and I’m talking to you. I was never, like, “Here’s going to be the logo and this is going to be the thing and we’re gonna do this and gonna do that” — there was never any of that. I’ve mostly just been playing catch-up for the last eight months, from the managers and agents that booked me a bunch of shows before I really even had a band together, before I even had the fourth member of the band, they booked me a bunch of shows just because they knew I was coming back out and people were excited about it.

May The Rock Be With You: This is your first time fronting a band. What is it like being the singer after so many years of well, not…?

Jason: It’s a little bit scary and it’s also really fun. I think that even all the drummers in the world and even the guy on violin in the back, everybody wants to be the frontman at some point, no matter what they say [laughs], I think they want that, we all crave it a little bit, because everybody wants to be a show-off in this business. You’ve got to have that ego and want to show off and that’s kind of what the deal is. Early days in FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, I sang in FLOTSAM AND JETSAM and fronted the band before we had a singer and through time and with METALLICA, it was one verse of that song, another verse in that song, a couple of years later a few more verses, and by the end of it, I was singing a whole song, so I’ve built up that way little by little. As far as a vocalist playing bass and laying it all down like that, it’s a very new territory and there’s a lot of new roles to assume, so I’m mostly taking it as a challenge. Nervous excitement comes pretty quick when I know that the chips are down and I know that I’ve got to go and sing for everybody, but remembering the songs and getting to remember all the words again, getting to say what I want to between the songs to the people, I really like that part. I don’t exactly thrash the way I used to because I have to keep my mind on remembering everything, but there’s a lot of different things to it. We’ve got about fifty shows under our belt now. Each time it’s a challenge but each time it’s getting better as well.

May The Rock Be With You: The album is called “Heavy Metal Music” which screams the obvious, but what was the idea behind the name specifically?

Jason: For clarity for the fans around the world. In METALLICA, and I was raised in that band, and it was always instilled in me that it’s a global view, it’s a worldwide view — we play music for the world not just the United States, so it’s kind of the way it’s gotta be. I’ve played in a lot of countries in my life, so no matter what language or dialect or whatever that you speak, heavy metal music means heavy metal music and I want to make sure that everybody’s clear that if I’m going to do this again and go all the way in frickin’ neck deep. I want to make sure that there’s question as to what style I’m playing. It’s not ECHOBRAIN, it’s not GOV’T MULE, not SEPULTURA, not DJ Shadow, not any of that stuff that I’ve messed with before, this is “Heavy Metal Music”.

Read the entire interview at May The Rock Be With You.

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