LocalBozo.com 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.
LocalBozo.com: With some tour dates dates beginning to pile up, what can fans expect from the songs we haven’t heard released yet and when can we expect the first NEWSTED album to officially be released?
Jason: They can expect more of the same, or even better. It’s all heavy music. It’s not all fast but all heavy. I’ll go into this actually from that question. It was a really big day here yesterday at the Chophouse [studios in Walnut Creek, California], kind of a landmark day for us. We’ve done demos and stuff here for 21 years with, you know, SEPULTURA guys and EXODUS and MACHINE HEAD and all those cats through time. But this was the first time we’ve made an album in my studio — a full worldwide release. The record company dudes came up yesterday into my studio to listen to the music, that’s the first time that’s ever happened here. They came away going, “Holy shit, we really didn’t think the EP was gonna be able to be beat. But you’ve done it.” I’m getting bumps just saying, just repeating their words. So that’s the first review from the dudes that are gonna work it to the world and they would tell me if it was shit. They would just say, “Go back to the drawing board.” They don’t fuck around; there’s a lot of money involved. So they say it’s either good enough or it’s not good enough but they said, “You did it.” So that’s what I got going so far. I like it. I know it’s heavy. I’m proud of the lyrics again. It’s all uniform, I mean, it goes together — all the shit goes together. The influences are right out there on my sleeve like always, you know? You can hear the MOTÖRHEAD, you hear the SABBATH, you hear it all — just like that. But for me, and what they said, they felt it was like listening to a METALLICA album in the early days so that’s what we got going so far.
LocalBozo.com: Looking back at your time with METALLICA, you’ve sort of become an inspiration for artistic integrity in breaking away from something so successful because essentially your creativity was being stifled. Are you now reveling in sort of the freedom that you were hoping to find in leaving the band?
Jason: Oh, yeah, man, and there’s so many factors to that whole thing. But yeah I’m really enjoying myself now, for sure. Being the man is a good thing. You know, everybody likes a little applause and a little recognition and things like that. I’ve worked a long time to get to this place, and so I’m really having a good time with it. I get to sing my own stuff my own way, and play it the way I want to — not necessarily the same every time. I like that a lot. I’m feeling powerful about it. And the thing with METALLICA, you know, it wasn’t so much that I was stifled as much as I wasn’t ready to do it either. My songwriting capabilities to be up to METALLICA‘s snuff as far as completing whole songs top to bottom, other than just giving the riffs for “Blackened” or whatever — these things through time — man, I threw dozens of riffs at those guys through all the years. It wasn’t like I wasn’t trying to get riffs in there. But as far as development of songwriting and everything, it wasn’t there yet. I’m ready to admit that. There’s no problem with that. I understand that. So it wasn’t all the thing about having two very controlling egos in the band that were, you know, leading our band. It was about me being able to come up with songs that were up to snuff, that were as good as James [Hetfield] or whatever. So there’s no hard feelings there about any of that stuff.
LocalBozo.com: Considering you’ve jumped up on stage with them a handful of times since then, do you miss being a part of the big METALLICA machine and how has your relationship with the band changed over the past couple of years?
Jason: Sometimes, but most of the time not. I feel that I accomplished a lot in fifteen years. You know, I played almost fifty countries with those guys, I certainly was able to make smart investments through time — to be able to pay for my nephew’s college and take care of my mom and get her a house — all the things that I’ve always wanted to do, that anybody would like to do if they were in that position, I would hope. And so I’m very proud of that. I’m business partners with METALLICA for the rest of time. We have collective investments and all this stuff, so that’s forever. We’re better friends than we’ve ever been as far as that goes, you know? Everybody’s grown up and knows how to respect each other and each other’s families and things. It’s a good place to be in right now. I’m good where I am. They’re good where they are. The only times it really stings a little bit is, it’s always about the quest. It really comes down to the quest. I want to play as many places as I can play while I’m still able to play. And they went to some places that I haven’t been without me, you know like South Africa, United Arab Emirates, India. I never got to play those places before I got out — they weren’t really open to the westernized rock and roll music when I was still with them. And so now I have my own quest with my own band to get to those places. That’s the only time that I really miss METALLICA is going to those really special places. When they’re the ones breaking the ground, that was something that I always took a lot of pride in, is being part of the band when we were the first ones to take our style of music to that region of the world. That was always, you know, whatever region it may have been, that was always such a powerful like victorious feeling and so that kind of thing I miss. But the rest of it — the hubbub and the demand and the sacrifice and being away from family and that kind of thing, I do not miss that part.
Read the entire interview from LocalBozo.com. You can also listen to the chat below.