JASON NEWSTED: New VOIVOD CD Is 'First Time I Get To Decide What People Hear From Me'

February 10, 2003

Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted claims that he has no idea who his replacement in the group will be and he insists that he is no longer interested in returning to the band despite his previous statements to the contrary.

"I really am happy with [my new band] VOIVOD at this point," Newsted told PITRIFF.com last month. "It's a different feeling with this. They go, 'Dude, we really want you to have a bass solo on this record.' When the fuck did anybody ever ask me for that? NEVER, that's when! 'We think the bass should be louder with more distortion.' Huh? I like this, I like this band.

"[When METALLICA recorded '…And Justice For All'] I had no fucking choice [but to let them mix it with no bass coming through in the finished product]. It wasn't like they'd let me in to help mix it. So what the fuck, I was in between a rock and something else. It's not like I played shitty. I can tell you that much."

With regards to the possible identity of his replacement, Jason said, "I don't fuckin' know [who it's gonna be]. I heard that they are having auditions, but it's a very closed-lip thing. Not even the kids that I know and am friends with that work around [the METALLICA headquarters] are saying anything. They won't even tell me, and they tell me everything. They are really keeping a tight lid on it."

Newsted recently completed work on a new album with VOIVOD, the veteran Canadian metal act whose unique brand of techno-thrash had a huge influence on other groups in the late '80s/early '90s yet enjoyed only modest commercial success — a fact Jason is hoping will change with the upcoming effort.

"I think it's important that people know that [VOIVOD's upcoming self-titled CD] is the first heavy metal album from a recorded member of METALLICA — ever!" Newsted said. "It's seemingly obvious, but not a whole lot of people realize it. I think that statement is fucking huge. As a fan of metal, if I got to be outside of my body for awhile, I'd be like, 'What? The heavy guy in METALLICA put out a record? What the fuck?' They always wanted that shit from me. When 'Load' and 'Reload' came, they were like, 'Where's Jason's influence, man?' I was saying it to myself, too. Now is my chance for them to hear. This is my first time, dude, that I get to decide what people hear from me and the full production. I think this is the best bass I've ever played in my life. It's big. There's a lot to it. There's a lot of confidence there, and I feel very, very alive."

In a separate interview with Australia's Undercover News, Newsted spoke about why it took two years for the legal aspects of his split from METALLICA to be fully resolved.

"You talked earlier about how many records METALLICA sold," Newsted explained. "I read in a press release yesterday — because I don't count the shit — that they say 85 million. How many shops in Melbourne sell METALLICA t-shirts and/or CDs? And/or key-chain and/or bumper stickers or something? Then, how many magazines sell it. Then, how many Internet things sell it JUST in Melbourne? Now multiply that by how many cities there are and how the commerce in the chain for METALLICA works worldwide. Then there is all the domestic things. Then there were albums I was on and albums I wasn't on that I still helped sell through my playing over the years. What logos was I on? What logos wasn't I on? What shirt in Melbourne right now am I going to get a nickel from because I was involved with that record by some kind of bullshit? It is like this fucking tree with branches and leaves and goes on forever and ever. It may not be the Middle East peace talks because there a lot more people butting heads. There is a lot of lawyers in this thing but everybody is pretty peaceable. We also realize that we have to be business partners for the rest of our lives and that is something that we have to keep in consideration. We move on with what we want to do. Certainly if James, Kirk, Lars and Jason could have had anything to do with moving it faster we would have. But by the time legal things kick in from international region to international region it became freaking ridiculous, dude.

"We are talking about a thing that between 1990-2000 brought in about $40 million a year," he continued. "That's not what we get to take home. Don't get me fucking wrong on that. That is not what the band gets. That is what we earned through our playing and concerts and selling t-shirts and things. Now once you whittle that down between all those regions that sell the t-shirts and stickers and all that shit, then you get a little chunk over here. That's the real world. I am not trying to discourage anyone but there are 850 albums released every week in our country. That is crazy. But you still have to slug it out. METALLICA is in this place that is way out of this world".

"It is more positive than negative so please don't get me wrong on that either. There is a lot of things you must deal with. Whoever steps into METALLICA, if they actually go on hire a person and it is someone who goes on to be a member, their life will be the same in a lot of good ways but also in a lot of ways that they are not going to be able to predict yet. As far as demand on your time, get to the right place and do what is right for METALLICA. Those kind of things people don't see how much work and how much time it takes to keep it at that level."

On the subject of his state of mind following his exit from the group, Jason says the mental torture of the legal issues with METALLICA took their toll. "There were times that is certainly effected me emotionally," he said. "It affected my productivity day to day. Maybe a couple of weeks at a time there were certain levels of depression. It was like taking freaking half of your heart out and someone takes it and puts in the freezer for a while and half your brain too for that matter. It was an incredibly devastating thing. Think about whatever you like best, man. Whatever the thing you live for whether it be your wife or your child, whatever you value most that you would do anything for and then it is taken away from you. Even more so, you choose to walk away from it voluntarily. You have to step up and be big enough to walk away from the thing that keeps you alive. That kind of shit is something that can affect anybody. I don't care if you are made of steel, man. The release I had with my other bands was possibly the best medication and/or meditation and therapy that I ever had."

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