It has been more than a decade since the 49 year-old bassist, Jason Newsted, took his ill fated departure from (and what many believe is) one of the greatest and world’s biggest metal bands ever: Metallica. Citing the usual reasons: creative differences; heath issues for an addiction to pain medications and the like. But when it was all said and done, why should that keep a good man down.
Newsted took the bass helm for Metallica in 1986 which was right at the cusp of the band’s ever growing popularity. Replacing Metallica’s then bassist, Cliff Burton, who tragically died in a tour bus accident in Sweden while touring in support of the album “Master of Puppets“. No easy shoes to fill, Burton, even by today’s standards, is perhaps one of the most iconic bassists in metal. Although, Newsted himself was no stranger to the scene and was already making a name for himself with Flotsam and Jetsam. Upon joining the band [Metallica] Newsted would see new heights of stardom as he was part of Metallica’s biggest albums to date. In 2001, Newsted, fearing the band was going in the wrong direction, purposed that they should take a year long hiatus. However, when the band nixed his suggestion Newsted decided it was time to call it a day. In an interview with Playboy Magazine, Newsted talked about his departure. Revealing that during the planned hiatus he wanted to concentrate on his side project Echobrain. Though, [James] Hetfield was against it. Citing that “When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of the band and Metallica.”
In 2002 Newsted joined Voivod and thus starting his career as somewhat -what would best termed- as of a gypsy bassist, as he would then find himself floating from bands like Rock Star Supernova, WhoCares and even a short stint with Ozzy Osbourne. Ironically it was not until his 2011 performance with his old mates in Metallica for the band’s 30th anniversary that really got Newsted’s creative juices flowing once more. Telling Katherine Turman of the “Village Voice” that he got completely lit up by the fans… “It made me want to come back to this. I’m doing it for them.”
The result of a decade of wandering had lead Jason Newsted to this moment and the creation of his newest band Newsted. Teaming up with drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. (The Napoleon Blownaparts) and Jessie Farnsworth on guitars the newly formed band hit the studios (Along with the band, Jason Newsted has also created Chophouse Records. This marks the spot in his long career that Jason [Newsted] has had full and complete creative control of everything.) and recorded an impressive 11 songs.
Metal was released as an EP in January 2013 (and had since sold out it’s first pressing). However, out of the 11 songs only 4 made the cut for the EP. Intended as a “feel out album” out of the 4 songs two (“Soldierhead” and “Skyscraper”) are the heavy hitters, touching on the subject of war, while “Godsnake” and “King of the Underdogs” are more lyrically based. Newsted stated that over his career that he had touched on many different genres and styles of music to mixed reactions… “So I have come back with what I do best: the old-school metal.”
Written By: Paul Dabrowski