Jason Newsted Reveals ‘Very Origins’ of His Beef With Metallica
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted revealed the “very origins” of his unhappiness with band leaders Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield.
He quit in 2001 after being prevented from pursuing his side project Echobrain, feeling that he was being artistically limited. But in a new interview with Metal Hammer, he said a similar argument had taken place seven years earlier over some music he recorded with guitarist Devin Townsend.
“This was the very origins,” Newsted said. “I had just established the Chophouse [studio] in '92, and by '94 we had all the gear. Devin came down at the age of about 22 and was an absolute fucking maniac ... every time he would pick up a guitar, you get, ‘Widdle widdle widdle,’ and you’re like, ‘Dude, where in the hell did that come from? Now play it backwards!’”
He said the resulting six-track demo, under the project name IR8, was “raw” but felt like “an incredible accomplishment” because he always wanted a studio. But his euphoria didn’t last. “The guys got wind of it, and Lars said, ‘You gotta come up to the house.’ I didn’t really know what it was for, so I take my bass and go up there. ‘What's up, guys?’ ‘Dude, you know you're in Metallica now, don’t you? You can’t just be making music and sending out tapes to whatever fucker with whichever fucker. You do understand that, right?’”
Newsted’s response: “Oh!” He explained that he "didn’t realize at all! I didn’t know about the politics. I was just sharing some metal with my friends! I pretty much broke down on that day in front of Lars and James. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, it won’t happen again!’ And that was the first time."
Metallica have softened over the years: Guitarist Kirk Hammett recently released a solo EP, Portals, although he admitted feeling shocked when Ulrich and Hetfield not only supported the project but encouraged him to launch it sooner than he originally intended.