JASON NEWSTED Says He Went Through Painkiller Addiction After Undergoing Shoulder Surgeries

Pat Douglas of GreatFallsTribune.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.

On how the NEWSTED project came about:

Jason: “METALLICA did their Fillmore shows for the 30th anniversary (and METALLICA drummer) Lars (Ulrich) called me and said they were having all the family out and anybody that played a part in the history. I said ‘Let’s do it.’ I really didn’t know what to expect. I was overwhelmed by the positive vibe from people. It truly took my breath. I heard my name in all kinds of dialects and accents and positive vibes coming. I had an epiphany and looked over the crowd and said ‘I’m gonna try this one more time.’ That’s why we’re where we are now because Lars gave me a call and asked me to jam again.”

On having to go through series of shoulder surgeries on both arms and not being able to play, which made him turn to painting:

Jason: “When I had my shoulder surgeries, they took over a three-and-a-half to four-year span, back and forth, left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder, right shoulder. With complete bicep tears and rotator cuff tears and very ugly rehab and therapy. Painkiller addiction, the whole deal. I only had one arm at a time, so I started painting. Now, I can use both hands equally for everything. That’s how the art came. I had to have something to do because I could not play my instrument.”

On playing guitar and singing in NEWSTED:

Jason: “It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. It’s gonna be that newness, scared, excited feeling when you first start out again. I get to taste a bunch of that.”

On his 15-year run with METALLICA:

Jason: “The METALLICA thing was just a dream. Still kind of is. I don’t know how to explain that. I’m the only human out of all the humans that got to be in that band and then back out, still alive and healthy and appreciating them still. I’m the only person that has that perspective and that’s kind of a crazy place to be.”

On the freedom he’s enjoyed the 11 years since he left METALLICA:

Jason: “I filled my role every time I was asked to do something, but it does put this thing in you that you can’t really make any kind of plans of serious aspects with anybody you really care about because the band has to come first. Having the freedom to be with the people you love and still do the music you want and do the paintings you want and live the life you wanna live, only do what you want to do when you want to do it, it is worth more than all the money that’s ever been printed. That’s the bottom line.”

On his expectations for NEWSTED:

Jason: “I’m not taking anything for granted. This is like a rebirth. I don’t have to start over again. I just start from where I stepped off, which happened to be the peak of the highest mountain you could climb in metal. I stepped off that spot so that’s kind of where I’m at. I’m doing this because I wanna do it. It’s hard for people to fathom it, but it’s more valuable to have control of my time than to be in the biggest band in the world.”

Read the entire interview from GreatFallsTribune.com.

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