Former METALLICA, VOIVOD and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist and current NEWSTED frontman Jason Newsted was interviewed on the April 26-28 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: The [NEWSTED] "Metal" EP is out, which features "Soldierhead"; there's going to be an album coming out this summer; the tour is currently underway; and you've added Mike Mushok of STAIND to your lineup, which is obviously a big deal …
Newsted: Yeah, we really got a lot rolling out here since I talked to you last. It's been taking off. People have really been responding to this positively; I've been overwhelmed in a really good way. We've got Mike in the band after a couple of auditions and he's just a fantastic musician, a really good person. So we're right back at it again; [I'm] very excited.
Full Metal Jackie: Last we spoke, you had said that you wanted to see how this was all going to do and I know you had some other songs that were recorded but was the full-length always a plan or did the success of the EP make you want to go in and make you write more?
Newsted: The response and the success of the EP had changed the plan since I talked to you last. Many people have come on board, big record labels [laughs] and all this stuff going on now that I really never expected. I've written 20 songs since October last year and we recorded about 16 or 17 of them now and we're just trying to pick the best batch of 10 to share with everybody; that's what it's come down to. The original plan was to do EPs, but now it's turned into the LP thing and trying to get 45 to 50 minutes' worth of good, heavy music for people to share on a full-length.
Full Metal Jackie: Let's talk about Mike Mushok for a second. [It was] recently announced he was an addition to the band. What did you feel that he adds to the lineup and how did him being part of the band come about?
Newsted: What he adds to the lineup is prowess and know-how. He's a very smart guy, a leader kind of person. He's a very developed instrumentalist — he was taught by Tony McAlpine and guys like that, where he's really very capable of the superfast kind of playing. I didn't really know much about STAIND or Mike until the last few weeks, and now I've gained great respect for their band and for him. What he brings as far as the instrument goes is he plays a lot of baritone guitar, seven-string guitar and all this different stuff. It's another awesome, heavy voice in our band. We each have our own thing and we switch back and forth, guitar and bass with me and Jessie Farnsworth and Mike comes in with his own, complete, cool element for this band. It's something that I didn't really expect, but I heard about his seven-string playing and his different tunings. He reminds me very much of the late, great Piggy [Denis D'Amour] of VOIVOD — his styling, his electronic prowess, his dissonant playing, and Piggy's very close to my heart, so all of those things were good in Mike's favor. He's really become such an integral part of us already.
Full Metal Jackie: The NEWSTED dates are now under way and you guys are switching instruments during the show. That's pretty interesting.
Newsted: Yeah, I've been playing a lot of guitar the last years in my little punk band PAPA WHEELIE and that's kind of what happened. Most of the songs on the EP and a lot of them that are on the LP coming up I composed on guitar. I played all the rhythm guitars on the EP and some of them on this new album, so when we play live, I'm going to switch up a little bit and do some singing when I play the guitar and the bass and then Jessie Farnsworth takes over on the bass when I switch. We just try to keep it a little more interesting — entertainment is the word. There's going to be great, heavy music but it's also an entertaining thing. I have a lot of cool songs to pick from, I'm going to share a few old things with people, weaved into the new material. It's going to be a little bit different for people. People haven't seen me play guitar before, and I'm excited for them to see it.
Full Metal Jackie: Last we spoke you had said that you wanted to get vinyl, two separate EPs, maybe a CD with all the tunes. What's your favorite format and why?
Newsted: I've been listening to vinyl a lot since this has all come up, and so I think just for the purity of it and the way that the old records were recorded on analogue, that sound is so special and wonderful, so I'm going to have to pick that as first. Technology and the Pro Tools and the digital thing is very helpful when you record and things, but I really like to stick to the purity. We're doing a hybrid kind of recording on this album where we record into analogues and stuff and eventually capture on digital only after it's brought in to us on analogue. Vinyl is still going to happen for the EP, and as far as the full-length LP, I definitely want to do a cool thing with artwork and stuff for that. That's still in my mind. I just have to get all the formats for everybody.