Jason Newsted

jason-newsted-320x320Jason Newsted went to Gull Lake High School in Richland, Michigan, joining Arizona thrashers Flotsam and Jetsam in 1982. Jason left them to join Metallica in 1986 after the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton. Following auditions and during an evening of drinking, the three members of Metallica: James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and drummer Lars Ulrich reportedly came to a decision in the restroom of “Tommy’s Joynt” in San Francisco amid the urinals, and upon their return to the bar asked Jason to join Metallica. It was Ulrich who asked Newsted coolly: “Want a job?” Jason’s first show with Metallica was in Reseda, CA on November 8th, 1986.

After confirming Jason as their new bassist (becoming Metallicas longest serving bassist) Metallica constructed a cheap studio in Ulrich’s garage in order to acclimatize Jason to Metallica. In this studio, the band quickly recorded an album consisting completely of cover songs called The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited, a homage to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands that influenced them. Jason was often referred to by the nickname “Jason Newkid” and in autograph sessions Jason would sign his name and add “Bassface” below, often having the B marked out by one of the other band members.

 

 

 

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Bass.SS_.M45-351x356In 1988, the band recorded …And Justice for All, Jason’s official debut with Metallica. While the album contains classic Metallica songs such as “Blackened” (which Jason co-wrote), “One”, and “Harvester of Sorrow”, the bass guitar is all but non-existent, buried under layer upon layer of rhythm guitar tracks. Only a trained ear can make out many of the parts, although this can also be partially attributed to Jason’s doubling of Hetfield’s rhythm guitar parts (drummer Ulrich has challenged fans to find any instance in any song on the album in which Jason is not doubling the rhythm parts).

He left Metallica in January 2001 and joined the Canadian metal band Voivod in 2002. The last song Jason played with Metallica was Fade to Black at the VH1 Music Awards and he knew at the time that it was going to be the last song he would play with the band. During the bridge, when Hetfield sings, “death greets me warm, now I will just say, goodbye,” Jason can be seen waving to the camera at that moment before playing the last few minutes of the song.

In the film Some Kind of Monster, Newsted claimed that he left Metallica because of James Hetfield’s controlling desire to keep everyone in Metallica and out of side projects (specifically Echobrain, which Newsted desired to release an album and tour with. Kirk Hammett is credited with playing a guest solo on one track (“Suckerpunch”)). Jason also admitted that after 15 years, he still felt that his bandmates had not accepted him as an equal to his predecessor, Cliff Burton. He also said that the band’s decision to hire a psychologist was, “Really fucking lame. And weak.”

In 2003, Metallica picked former Ozzy Osbourne and Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo as Newsted’s replacement. Jason was very happy with the decision Metallica made and in a bizarre twist, Ozzy immediately chose Jason to replace Rob for Ozzfest 2003. Following the end of Ozzfest, Jason left Ozzy’s band to concentrate on his work with Voivod.

In July 2006, Jason Newsted joined Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke to form Rock Star Supernova, a band that finalized its member lineup by selecting Lukas Rossi as lead singer in the competition style reality television show Rock Star. Supernova’s first album was released on November 21, 2006, to disappointing sales, debuting at number 101 in the US, although it reached number 4 in Canada and went platinum.

On October 23, 2006 Newsted injured his shoulder while attempting to catch a falling bass amp head. The accident resulted in a torn anterior labrum in his left shoulder and a rotator cuff and biceps tear in the right. He was scheduled for immediate surgery, and was to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process. The band had chosen Johnny Colt, formerly of The Black Crowes, as a temporary replacement for their upcoming tour.