JASON NEWSTED: ‘I’m In Much Better Shape Than I Was At 37’

Pop-Break‘s Bill Bodkin 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.

Pop-Break: What is different about Jason Newsted — the musician, the man — since you last did a full tour or played with METALLICA.

Newsted: I’m in much better shape than I was at 37 and I’m about to turn 50. When I left METALLICA in 2001, I was on pills, James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] was drinking, the others were doing things they shouldn’t … We were all mentally fucked. But it was “let’s plow on and not take time to assess our mental health.” With this band, we’re taking the old avenue of taking the music to the people. I don’t care if there’s 5,000 people in the audience or 30 people, they are all getting their asses kicked! I’ve always felt that way to go bring the music to the people. But there’s many new avenues I haven’t been down or it’s been a long time. I mean, I haven’t been on a tour bus in 10 years since I was on the road with Ozzy. But there’s also the technology, the social networking … I’ve tried to repel all of this for as long as I could. I’ve tried and still try to remain as analog as possible. But then I learn and discover that social networking is the way to connect with the people and rekindle my relationship with the fans. Change has made me adapt. Mike [Mushok, STAIND/NEWSTED guitarist] just came off the road with STAIND in October so he’s been a big blessing in this, because he’s helping me so much. I need that help, because with this band, it’s all me. I’m the manager, the bassist, the investor, the singer, I’m micro-managing things, booking flights, hotels … all things I never had to undertake before. I was conditioned to have people handle this for me when I was in METALLICA. Now it’s a humbling thing, but it’s also exciting because I’m calling all the shots and I have more control and there’s lots of new things to learn.

Pop-Break: Is it odd touring without a big production like Ozzy or METALLICA and doing a more club-centric tour?

Newsted: The idea behind this first tour is to get warmed up because in June we’re hitting 15 different countries playing with IRON MAIDEN and SLAYER. So that’s a pretty big deal. This is the next phase of the band … we’ll be second on the bill and we’re there to take care of business. We don’t have the LP out yet so we just have the EP and the live show, some video is getting out there on YouTube. It’s a challenge to get people to respond to the new stuff, but they are definitely responding.

Pop-Break: Then you hit the road with Gigantour this summer. How do you feel about hooking up with [MEGADETH‘s Dave] Mustaine and this now-epic and popular tour?

Newsted: Dave and Dave [Mustaine and Ellefson] gave my old band FLOTSAM AND JETSAM their first shows outside of Arizona when we opened for them back in 1985. So there’s a definite camaraderie there with them. We’re going to be on the bill early, but we’ll be taking it to the people, for sure. It kinda reminds me of when METALLICA went on the Monsters Of Rock tour in 1988 and we played second before DOKKEN. [laughs] Man, he got pelted with a lot of shit on that tour. I mean, we were playing a take-no-prisoners 30-45-minute set each night. We weren’t playing no fucking ballads and we didn’t care who was headlining, we were bringing the show to the people.

Read the entire interview from Pop-Break.


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