JASON NEWSTED Says NEWSTED Concert In Fort Lauderdale Is 'A One-Off' But Doesn't Rule Out Future Activity
April 18, 2023
During an appearance earlier today (Tuesday, April 18) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted spoke about his decision to reactivate his NEWSTED project for a May 20 concert at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Newsted, who plays bass and sings in the project, will be joined at the gig by original NEWSTED members Jesus Mendez Jr. (UNDERLORD) on drums and Jessie Farnsworth (UNDERLORD) on guitar, along with new guitarist Humberto Perez.
Asked how he arrived at the decision to bring back NEWSTED after a decade-long absence, Jason said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Kind of by happenstance and how we keep chasing it for fun. That's always been our thing — playing with whoever, whenever.
"About a year ago at this time, THE CHOPHOUSE BAND played at the Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, and Jesus Mendez, the drummer NEWSTED, and Jessie Farnsworth, the guitarist, guested at the end of that program. And they came over to HQ, and we jammed a bit on the side. And I think that seed got replanted. And so I had to finish with THE CHOPHOUSE BAND album, so I did that. And then [I] got these guys back together a couple of weeks ago again. And it was an epiphanous kind of trip — everybody smiling at each other and happy that we're still alive and everything. So it's really mostly for feeling alive and marking the tenth anniversary [of the formation of the band] and being brothers again."
Regarding whether the Revolution Live concert will be a one-off performance or if there will be more NEWSTED gigs to come, Jason said: "I've lived in Florida for 25 years. I've only ever done the acoustic stuff as any kind of public performance… So this is the first time that I reached out to anybody in the circles of people that have come to the art shows and stuff like that. And I said, 'Where's a cool place to play?' And they pointed me to Revolution [Live]. And we checked it out. And I talked to some folks there, and they said, 'By all means, dude, bring it down here.' And I talked to Jesus and Jessie, and I've been auditioning guitar players… We found a guy from Caracas, Venezuela. Now he's up in West Palm for a little while — Humberto Perez — and he's a good player. [Former NEWSTED guitarist] Mike Mushok can't be in it 'cause STAIND's got their plate full right now and he's doing his thing."
He added: "It is a one-off thing for fun to mark the time, to mark the date, to show that we're alive, and whoever is lucky enough to be there, that is the deal right there."
Pressed about whether he would be open to doing more shows or recording new music in the future with NEWSTED, Jason said: "I like the idea of a possible reissue or something of the 'Heavy Metal Music' LP, original LP, for the ten-year thing, possibly. So if these kind of seeds are planted and the reaction that we get on that night and if I get my engine all turned up again, you never know what can happen. But I don't wanna say never on any of it. I really have been enjoying it."
As for why he abruptly stopped doing NEWSTED back in 2014, seemingly without an official explanation, Jason said: "I think I should have asked for more help — in 20/20 hindsight. I've worked hard to protect the legacy, as it were, I guess, if that's the term. It's important as an outsider, insider and otherwise, for the opportunity that I've been given. I try to be really careful about what moves I make. I really didn't want to coattail anything from anywhere. And I wanna do my own thing and try to do it with Chophouse Records and my own stuff and wear so many hats so many different times. I jumped into ECHOBRAIN project, which is something that was kind of already assembled. VOIVOD, obviously, was already very assembled. The NEWSTED band was a fresh thing. Since FLOTSAM [AND JETSAM], that's the only thing I've been a founder of since that time. I didn't wanna ask for help from the people I could have, and I think that's probably what it comes down to. It would have been better for my head and my overall [mental health] if I could have worn less hats and been able to concentrate more on my show."
Back in February 2014, Newsted canceled an appearance at Australia's Soundwave festival with NEWSTED, citing "private and personal circumstances." The cancelation followed more than a year of intense touring and promotional activity surrounding the release of NEWSTED's "Metal" EP and follow-up album, "Heavy Metal Music", both of which were positively received by the critics and fans alike.
During today's "Trunk Nation" interview, Jason revealed that the Fort Lauderdale concert will see NEWSTED only play "a couple of songs" from "Metal" and "Heavy Metal Music" and that most of the material performed will be "all new".
Mushok, who joined NEWSTED in March 2013 and played on "Heavy Metal Music", told "The Jasta Show" in a 2019 interview that Jason ultimately pulled the plug on the band because it wasn't financially viable for him to continue playing.
"I think he was happy with it [creatively]," Mike said. "I think the touring thing was hard. I don't think it was exactly what he expected it was going to be. But listen, it was fun. I really enjoyed him. I really enjoyed our time together and playing. We're still friends; we still communicate… We were playing smaller places, but the shows were always good; they were always fun. I just think it cost him a ton. 'Cause he was footing the bill for everything. So I think that at the end of the day, he's, like, 'I'm doing this 'cause of my passion for it and what I love, but I'm bleeding here.' We had this European tour that I think cost him a bunch."
Explaining that he is "really thankful" for the "great experience" of playing with Jason, Mike praised his former bandmate, saying: "Jason is a hard worker, man. We would practice 10 hours, he'd record the whole thing, and when we were done, he wouldn't walk out of the control — he'd sit there and listen to it. I'm, like, 'Dude! Come on, man.' I mean, there's a hard work — I'm a hard worker, but this guy was next level."
"Heavy Metal Music" sold nearly 8,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 40 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was made available in August 2013 in North America via Chophouse Records/Collective Sounds and in Europe through Spinefarm Records.
Jason left METALLICA back in 2001 but was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, along with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and the man who replaced him, bassist Robert Trujillo, in 2009.
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