How JASON NEWSTED's Need To Play Other Styles Of Music Led To His Departure From METALLICA

August 29, 2021

In a new interview with "The Metal Hammer Podcast", former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted discussed how his need to play other styles of music eventually led to his exit from the band more than 20 years ago.

"By the time the tour [for the 'Black Album'] was done and we had some money to count and some bass to rest, I went in a totally different direction," Jason said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET. "I liked playing the songs and I can raise myself up to perform the songs for the people and give it all I've got, but 'Enter Sandman' for the three thousandth time in a certain amount of days, it fucking wears on you.

"I've got dozens of new songs we're working on [with Jason's long-running project THE CHOPHOUSE BAND] — all the time, of all different instrumentation and shit," he continued. "And if I've gotta sit on one for too long now, I'd go fucking crazy. [I'd be, like] 'We've gotta move on, guys. We have 45 minutes. Let's move on.' And I'm ready to perform again and everything like that, but I can't do that thing anymore — I can't just do that Broadway show where it's the same, same, same, same, same. And that's what I thought was my advantage and my being able to harness and manage the balance.

"I wanted to be that person that I knew myself to be on and off the stage with METALLICA. When people saw me, they knew they were getting everything I had left — every fucking ounce of sweat on the stage every time. The way I was able to continue to do that was by playing the wacky music with my friends. It kept me cleansed, it kept me strong, it kept me interested in music. If I only had that one-dimensional part of music, I would have called it a long, long time ago. But I kept myself healthy by playing with all kinds of people, like I still do to this day, and like I will tonight and tomorrow. I know that I'm not alone in that, and there's so many people that are my heroes that do the same thing — Neil Young, still to this day; Thom Yorke… any of 'em. [They're] still seeking out other things.

"I know I can play the metal. I climbed that mountain — the tallest one. I can do that shit. Tell me what time you want me to throw down. I can throw down that stuff anytime. But I'm not satisfied with just that, and I haven't been for a long, long time."

The 58-year-old musician left METALLICA in 2001 after a 15-year run with the group. His exit was documented in the band's 2004 documentary, "Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster", which followed the members of the group through the three most turbulent years of their long career, during which they battled through addiction, lineup changes, fan backlash, personal turmoil and the near-disintegration of the group while making their "St. Anger" album.

Newsted was METALLICA's third bassist, following Ron McGovney and the late Cliff Burton. Robert Trujillo took over in 2003 after Newsted's exit.

Jason spoke in detail about the reason he left METALLICA in a 2013 interview with Scuzz TV. Newsted said that his eventual split with the group was over the way his then-side band, ECHOBRAIN, was handled. Newsted explained: "The management of METALLICA was very, very excited about ECHOBRAIN, wanted to take it out for me, wanted me to do ECHOBRAIN also, with METALLICA. They felt ECHOBRAIN was that good, the singer was that good, and it didn't affect METALLICA because it was a totally different kind of thing, and I was in METALLICA; that would give it its pedigree already."

Newsted continued: "They had told me, pretty convincingly, 'This is a great record, we've been playing it around the office, that's all I’ve been hearing, it's fantastic, this kid has a great voice. Let's do something with this.' That's what they told me, and then James heard about it and was not happy. He was, I think, pretty much out to put the kibosh on the whole thing because it would somehow affect METALLICA in his eyes, because now the managers were interested in something I was doing that had nothing to do with him."

Newsted told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that he never saw how ECHOBRAIN could have interfered with METALLICA. "I never felt that it was going to affect METALLICA in any way," he said. "There was no way that it could. The monster and the integrity and the legend that METALLICA's built, it would take a lot more than that to ever affect it."

Newsted added, "The people that I had counted on for 15 years to help me with my career, help METALLICA, take care of my money, do all of those things, told me, 'Your new project is fantastic, we'd like to help you with it.' James heard about it, the manager calls me back a couple of days later — 'Sorry we're not going to be able to help you with that ECHOBRAIN thing.'"


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