KillYourStereo.com recently conducted an interview with former METALLICA, VOIVOD and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist and current NEWSTED frontman Jason Newsted. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KillYourStereo.com: How far into the future are you looking in terms of where you want to take [NEWSTED]?
Newsted: As far as we can. I guess it's not like you are asking a 25-year-old guy who is starting his first band how far he wants to take it because of all the things that have already happened. I just turned 50 and got married and all that kind of thing, so there's a lot of different kind of worlds going on. [laughs] I've been so touched and so surprised by the positive vibes, and acceptance from the fans we've played to across the world. As long as my shoulders and neck keep working, I'll keep going at it, keep chasing it. As long as people keep giving a shit and keep giving us this acceptance, I'll keep chasing it. As long as we can still come up with music that reaches a certain standard for us to be able to share, then I'll keep doing that. It's so important when to say when especially in a business like this. But, we've only got to play about 15 to 17 countries so far on this first six months of the band and I've got a lot more to play. I ‘ve got a lot more things to do.
KillYourStereo.com: I think the title itself, "Heavy Metal Music", is quite reflective because it is something that has been a career, a lifestyle, a passion of yours for a long time. These days, do you feel it's easier or harder being a metal musician?
Newsted: I think for any kind of musician or entertainer or journalist, it takes a lot more. We've got to work four times as hard for half as much as you used to get. There's so much more competition. There's so much of this instant-gratification stuff and people feeling entitled. There are fewer jobs and more people trying to get them. Everybody wants to be famous and all this different kind of silly shit, and there are factors that maybe weren't there before. They were there, but not as intense as they are now since the Internet and the "everybody is somebody" vibe. [However] just like any of these things we just mentioned, if it's a person that is gifted and it's a genuine article, then the cream will rise to the top and they will have a proper career, and people will learn to appreciate it. People will see through it if it's fake. For me personally, I've got to say, I've been pretty enlightened these last couple of months as I've travelled around the place playing music for people. The metal world is in better shape than I thought it was before I went out there. That's my take on it now. I'm happy to be a metal musician. It is harder to be one, but those of us that have been in it for a long time and done the right thing, we will be here forever.
KillYourStereo.com: As you were saying there, you've done this for a long time. Probably one of the biggest changes in music is the role of social media. How important is it to interact with that medium and specifically interact with fans more directly?
Newsted: I'm finding that it's all-important. That channel wasn't really available last time I was in a big band. A lot has changed in the last ten years since I was in the business. I guess pretty much everything has changed. [laughs] Only a couple of [major] things have changed [though]. You've still got to take the music to the people, you've still got to have that human interaction exchange with the rock when the volume is up and [with] the sweat — you've got to have that. A computer can't change that…it can't take it away either fortunately. The ability to press one button and get to the corners of Timbuktu and all that is amazing to me. It's still so new to me that I'm fascinated by it. I repelled it for so long and I've only just taken on my Facebook of November last year. It is kind of real, real new. I was always a fan-based guy myself, so having the ability to rekindle relationships with long-time fans and also make new ones [is great]. I used to have to go out right to the city itself, out in the middle of wherever, to find out what music people were listening to. I had to play in their town and shake their hand, and say, "What bands do you listen to?" to know what was going on there. Now I can just go on the Internet to see what is going on in that area or region, and who is popular where. It's amazing. Learning about it every day my man. [laughs]
Read the entire interview at KillYourStereo.com.