Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted has revealed in the current issue of the Dutch metal magazine Aardschok (dated January 2002you can view the cover at this location) that he first realized that he was going to leave METALLICA on September 27th, 2000nearly four months prior to the official announcement signaling his departure from the group and 14 years to the day since the passing of Cliff Burton, the man he replaced in the group. According to Newsted, it was on that day that METALLICA frontman James Hetfield made his feelings clear on the subject of Newsted's desire to pursue outside musical projects concurrently with METALLICA, and it was a development that led Newsted into a lengthy depression that culminated in a final band meeting on January 8th, 2001 ([an anniversary of] the day Elvis was born, the bassist notes), at which he announced his resignation from the band. Jason told interviewer Metal Mike that the group's management (Q Prime) and bandmates Lars Ulrich (drums) and Kirk Hammett (guitars) were all supportive of his decision to pursue ECHOBRAIN as a side project while still a member of METALLICA, but at the last minute, Hetfield came in and vetoed the rest of the band's decision, in the process accusing Newsted of not being faithful to the group that the bassist had dedicated every moment of the last 14 years of his life to. Having initially wanted the band to go on a year-long sabbatical, after which they would come back with a new album that would set a new standard for heavy rock music, Jason was overruled by the remainder of the group, who were more interested in fighting Napster and spending more time in the courts than making new music. The only things I heard were 'No no' and 'F.ck no' [when I suggested that we take some time off], Jason was quoted as saying, according to a translation of the article, which was published in Dutch. Then I announced my departure and everyone was in tears. All emotions came loose. In the interview, Newsted also reveals that he was asked by guitar hero Joe Satriani to play on the axeman's forthcoming solo album, which is due to be released next year, and he indicates his desire to follow up his guest spot on the forthcoming studio album from Canadian metallers VOIVOD with some live appearances with the group, including a possible stint at next year's Dynamo Festival. I need to start with a band from the beginning. I happen to respect acts that tour 300 out of 365 days in a rented van, Newsted told the magazine, adding that I want to work with bands that are loyal to their rootsa statement that could be viewed as a not-so-veiled confirmation of the bassist's long-rumored dissatisfaction with the musical direction on METALLICA's last two studio albums (1996's Load and 1997's Reload). The four-stringer also makes it a point to refer to both Ulrich and Hammett as my friends, while noting that he has yet to hear from Hetfield since his departure from the group, attributing some of James' mood swings and approach to dealing with the whole situation to his ongoing battle with alcoholism. Despite everything, Newsted makes it clear that he would rejoin the band immediately if they asked him to. I do not have to think about it for a second. But we live in different times. I would want dedicate 75% of my time to METALLICA and 25% to playing other music [with other people], but this doesn't coincide well with James' point of view [on how things should be].
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