JASON NEWSTED: 'I'll Always Jam With METALLICA If They Ask Me'

On May 1, Steve Baltin of RollingStone.com conducted an interview with former METALLICA, VOIVOD and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist and current NEWSTED frontman Jason Newsted. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

RollingStone.com: Do you appreciate [performing on stage again] more after the hiatus?

Newsted: I think the deeper the challenge — I had a bunch of shoulder surgeries to get myself together — whatever that level of thing, you come back with that same level of matching appreciation. It's new eyes, new mind, new world to recognize and appreciate, there's no question about that. It did happen so fast. We wrote the songs in fall of last year, recorded 16 or 20 songs since that time, put the EP out in January. I've got an LP done already, a world tour at our feet in six months' time, so that's pretty quick for all that to be coming around and for me to fathom it. In a big band like METALLICA, in METALLICA in particular, it is such a machine, and especially when I was in, the same people working together for 25 years for us, same band, same crew guys working for us — it was such a fine-tuned thing, that's what I got conditioned to. And so many of the detail things were kept from me because they're not gonna bother you with all the bullshit. So I skipped over this part that I'm doing right now in the first 30 years of my career. October of 1986 on Halloween I played the last show with FLOTSAM AND JETSAM — 10 days later onstage in Japan, sold out Budokan with METALLICA. I didn't ever do the van around the countryside, slugging it out place to place, come to the Roxy to play or anything like that. I skipped over it. Now I'm doing it, and appreciate it.

RollingStone.com: Now you're doing it, though, with a different wisdom.

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Newsted: That's the thing. That was Lars [Ulrich] in METALLICA — I never recognized it. I used to give him grief because, "Dude, how come you're not practicing more? How come you're not on time?" And he's like, "If you only knew what I had to do." I didn't realize, but he was so on top of that kind of stuff, and geographically aware and all these things. "We gotta go here, they're letting Western music in here, now we're going here," that kind of thing. He was so on top of it, but I didn't realize it until now. I've gained so much respect for all those guys in the camp, but especially him in particular.

RollingStone.com: Have you told him that?

Newsted: No, but I will tomorrow (at the Revolver Golden Gods in L.A.). We're seeing each other for the first time since the reunion. We've seen each other two times since the Hall Of Fame. They're busy, I'm busy. April of 2009 was the Hall Of Fame for us and December of 2011 was the reunion. We've become so much closer as far as that goes, with respecting each other. He came to my first gallery shows of my paintings, and he's the one who actually turned me on to Basquiat. For him to come and do that, we get that special bond we didn't have before. There's some cool shit going on. We're life partners in business. We are forever. I'm always a part of METALLICA, and we're always gonna be sharing decisions about different kinds of crazy stuff.

RollingStone.com: Would you see yourself playing with them again?

Newsted: I'll always jam with them, but I'll pretty much jam with everybody. I'll always jam with them if they ask me.

Read the entire interview from RollingStone.com.

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