Back in January I got the chance to chat with former Metallica bassist and living legend Jason Newsted about is amazing new project simply titled Newsted. We talked about everything from the 30th Anniversary shows to writing Christian songs as a kid to the new EP and hopefully full time band. The original interview can be read here: so here are some of the outtakes that didn’t make my original interview.
Metallica’s 30th Anniversary shows
Lars called me and asked me to jam and I went down to jam with them and I really didn’t know what to expect. It was a fan club show, so there were many countries that were represented there, 20 or 30 countries probably that week.
How the songs for the new “Metal” EP came together
This entire particular slew of songs was composed on my iPad. I did all the parts myself; it was the first time I’ve done that all the way through ever with all instruments and all lyrics and everything and putting my name on it at the same time. I shared the music with the guys, they put their thing on it and we get what we get. That was the process for these songs.
Why Jason called the band Newsted I never really planned on putting my name on anything as a band actually because I was always able to come up with clever names like Echobrain and Papa Wheelie and whatever other hundreds I’ve come up with, but I wanted to make no mistake about it, this is a global thing. Metallica is a global band, my career has been a global career and that’s the way we’re looking at it.
Jason on the first song that he’s ever written I got my first guitar when I was nine. I wrote my first song down on paper when I was nine. I didn’t know how to put my left hand on the guitar yet, just played the right hand along the strings and wrote the string number over the top and the words down at the bottom in real big letters. I wrote songs about Jesus and whatever I knew about at the time.
The lyric writing process on “Metal”
As we do our improv in the Chophouse and anywhere else we do it, I always have a notebook or two full of my poems or lyrics. I’ll put them in front of me on a music stand, we’ll play the improv jam and I just sing those lyrics. I have book upon book upon tablet upon tablet of lyrics…four decades worth now.
On Being the people person in Metallica
Each person in Metallica in the day had their own role to play outside of the band. Lars was the business guy, James was the writer, Kirk was the artist and I get to be the people person. That’s really what it came down to. I was put out there as our first foot forward through things like the Make A Wish Foundation through time I developed this. I always had that skill my mother tells me, but I developed more and more being able to get along with people and being able to look in people’s eyes and hearing their stories and stuff. That became my fuel. Truly and truly and all the way thoroughly it was merely a selfish thing, it was almost true that I did seek out people to go sign for, it wasn’t quite like that, but I would never ever walk away if even one kid was standing there, especially in the cold. I just wouldn’t, I always try to put myself in that fandom situation when I finally met whoever my heroes were. If they took a minute to say something to me I’d never forget it. I don’t forget that myself.
Jason on Social Media
The thing I realized and we did get to go around the world a lot, we played in I don’t know how many countries 40 or 45 when I was with the band. The only way for us to know what those fans were thinking, feeling, reacting to or whatever was to be in their country or their town to look in their eyes or shake their hand and see what the hell was going on. That was the only way to get the pulse of what was happening in that region and that territory. You had to be there. Now I can know right now. This kind of thing has opened up the sky for me. I’m first of all very impressed that all of my hard work and the time I gave to the people is coming back 1000 fold with respect or the fans and everything. Also the new fans is a great thing and the places that we could never take the westernized rock are responding, African nations, places in the middle of the tundra, Mongolia whatever. It’s kind of unfathomable.
Jason on the Metallica Shadow
The shadow is only brought to my attention when people say it to me like in an interview or even recently when kids do a review of a song or something, ‘he’s finally come out of Metallica’s shadow.’ I never really looked at it like that because most of the stuff that came from it, the accolades that come in the aftermath of this have been positive. People show respect wherever I go I get surprised. People call me by my first name like they’ve known me forever. It’s always something good. Nobody ever comes up to me and says, ‘you fucking asshole’ ever. So I did something right.
Jason on playing with Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Flea, Ronnie Wood and the rest of Metallica at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
I still can’t get my head around it. It’s still very dreamy and I still am such the fan kid. I’m still going to ask for Clapton’s autograph when I see him. That’s just the way it is. Even with all these accolades and stuff I don’t ever want to lose that.
How many zeroes are there in a squillion?
How many zeroes are there in a squillion? You know maybe I should have a contest since everybody is making such a big deal about it. That’s what I’m going to do on the website (http://newstedheavymetal.com/), I’ve been working on contests and that’s going to be one of them. Thank you, thanks dude (laughs).
Be sure to check out Newsted and pick up the new “Metal” EP either on iTunes or at http://newstedheavymetal.com/, you can also check that site out for upcoming releases, tour dates and news.
If you want to interact with Jason, check him out at:
Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.