Jason Newsted ‘proved’ himself in Metallica by the way he handled the band’s hazing
Old Metallic bass player Jason Newsted admits that he suffered when he first joined the group following Burton Cliffdied in 1986.
Fans heckled him, his bandmates teased him, and his hard work on the …And justice for all was almost completely removed from the album’s final mix.
Speaking this week with the Metallica fanzine So what!, Newsted said he proved something important about his character during those early years with Metallica. Whether consciously or not, his position in the group changed rapidly when work began on the Black Album.
“I think it was pretty obvious early on that I was ready to go through whatever it took, whether it was from them or whoever it was,” the bassist explained. “I was willing to play my part in their outfit to help them get there. So that part was definitely different. [when the band started the Black Album].
“I had proven myself on the road. I would get super sick and still go and play. You know, the things you have to do to prove yourself at this kind of club. And I did. I I felt better, I felt more confident. I felt a lot better about positioning my bass in the orchestra, you know, that kind of thing. And I was ready for Bob [Rock, producer] to show me what it really took. I was ready for it, and he was there to tell me.”
We’ll never understand what was going on with Lars Ulrich during the …And justice for all mixing sessions when he asked an engineer to turn Newsted’s bass down to where it was barely audiblethen lower it a bit more.
We’ll never understand why James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett accepted the bottomless mix. But regardless of the mistakes made on Justice have been dutifully corrected on the Black Album.
Undeterred by previous years, Newsted says he was razor sharp and ready when it came time to make what became the greatest metal album of all time.
“I never let go of my chops, I always kept playing, I always practiced, I always tried, you know,” he continued. “I never wanted to be out when these guys asked me to play something, man. I’m here. We’re not joking, no questions, just, ‘F— yeah, I got it. ‘ It was super important. That’s how I was going to do it.”
Ulrich, Hetfield and Hammett then apologized for the way Newsted was treated at first, and while the group was hate to remix the albumthey admitted that the original version could have sounded better.
For his part, Newsted, more than 20 years after leaving Metallica, he has a great relationship with his former bandmates. And he’s “proud” of how they’ve all grown over time.