Jeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles 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.
Metal Exiles: After you left METALLICA, you have been involved with many tours and albums, but it was always under somebody else’s logo. What finally led you to put something out under the Newsted name?
Jason: This kind of thing happens to bass players across the board. We go in, especially in my case, and I did get to live a few dreams, and become a resuscitator, a transfusion and a new engine for an established act. With FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, I formed that band with Kelly David-Smith but since then I have not formed a band, meaning I made decisions or chose who was going to be in it. I have been proud of what I have done with helping METALLICA with what they were going through at the time, helping VOIVOD coming back to life and playing in Ozzy‘s band. Those are three dreams that came true and I am very proud of those things. But my fourth dream was putting my name on the project, write my own songs with my own voice from top to bottom, it’s a prideful thing.
Metal Exiles: You were quoted as saying you are old school and this [NEWSTED] EP [“Metal”] has an old-school metal feel in several places. Is that what you wanted to do when you started this project?
Jason: There was no thought process that it would be this or be that, this is just what came out. It is a culmination of all of the experiences in my musical career and there have been some unbelievable opportunities that I have been privileged to be a part of. When you get to play with the caliber of musicians I have played with, I would get wide-eyed, my head gets spongy and I take in everything I can from the gifted musicians I have played with. I have played all of these different styles of music over my 30 years, so I put it through my filter, regurgitate it and it comes out the way I know best. My forte is old-school metal, it is what I am made of, so that is what comes out but it took all of the experiences that I had to make it what it is. I cannot be anything other than what I am.
Metal Exiles: To close this out, when you look back on [METALLICA‘s] “…And Justice For All” record, has your opinion changed over the years because of what happened to your parts on the record?
Jason: There are so many years of water under the bridge with that and I can now see it for what it is. There is no real confusion or mystery to me now that I can look back after time and look on the situation. When I went in to record “Justice”, I had only recorded one time and that was with FLOTSAM for “Doomsday”. I was used to recording with the band, you go in together, do it and you’re done. With “Justice”, I went into the studio with an assistant engineer and nobody else, no other band members, just go in, plug in and do your best. I plugged into the same shit I did the FLOTSAM record, recorded my parts and loaded my gear and went home. There was nobody there to work parts out with or discuss how this or that was going to sound; it was just “record your bass” and that’s that. Being a bass player in FLOTSAM, I did not know about playing the to the bass part yet, I just knew about playing bass really fast like guitar, basically everybody playing the same thing like a sonic wall. So it ended up with everything being in the same frequency, my bass and James‘ [Hetfield] guitar battling for the same frequency. If I had of known then what I know now, it would have been different, but it became a classic album for what it was; we captured a moment in time and that is all there is about it. I used to be pissed about it back then, but that was a long time ago, but the records I have made since then have had some ugly bass parts all over the place on them.
Read the entire interview from Metal Exiles.