JASON NEWSTED: JAMES HETFIELD Is A Changed Man

Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted stopped by the New York City headquarters of Hard Attack, the nation's first 24-hour metal radio station on Sirius Satellite Radio, yesterday (Tuesday, April 16th) and spoke at length on topics ranging from his recent dinner meeting with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield to his feelings on the break-up of MEGADETH and the possibility of ex-MEGADETH bassist Dave Ellefson taking his spot in METALLICA. Here are a couple of highlights from that interview (provided exclusively to BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On the break-up of MEGADETH and Dave Mustaine's injury that was cited as the official reason for the split:
“That's sad, man, really sad. Because it was forced...it's just really, really sad for someone who was such a prolific writer. He really came up with some great stuff, you know. The actual fluidity and ability that he had on the guitar, just out-and-out speed, was pretty amazing. [My old band] FLOTSAM [AND JETSAM] opened a lot of shows for MEGADETH back in the day, and we spent a lot of time together, so I'm just sorry to hear about the whole thing.”

On referring to MEGADETH as a "watered-down METALLICA" in a previous interview:
“I think I was talking about ECHOBRAIN and people being surprised by the sound of the band, that they wanted something heavier but still liked it. The most common response was, 'Wow, we wanted something heavier, but we still like it.' So I was saying that it would have been so stupid to do something predictable like a watered-down or wannabe METALLICA, or rap-rock record, or something like that. And in that context, I said something to the effect that MEGADETH was always just behind METALLICA and always wanted to be METALLICA. So I won't back off that. I think it's an absolutely true statement. But it's not a disrespectful statement. Dave [Mustaine] was, and maybe still is, quite bitter about that, and he always wanted to achieve what METALLICA achieved. They wrote great songs, made great records, but were never quite able to get to that pinnacle.”

On the rumors about ex-MEGADETH bassist Dave Ellefson replacing him in METALLICA:
“That would be pretty weird. It would be a good fit but only musician-wise. Dave is one of the best bass players that has ever been in metal, no two ways about it. I still look up to him. And he's a good guy, which is why I wouldn't wish it upon him. He could definitely handle the gig as far as the playing and the interviews and all that, but dealing with the inner workings, I don't know.”

On his recent dinner meeting with Hetfield:
“[James is] a changed man. But it's good. His eyes are clear. He's always been the most honest person I've ever known, and that's still there and it's still pretty serious business, but we hadn't sat together, just the two of us, without anything else going on, in ten years. So we finally got to sit down for two hours, just hang out for a second, and talk. It was good. We're brothers, man. There were always two dressing rooms for METALLICA: Kirk and Lars, and James and Jason. We were together all the time, and he's still the person I respect in music more than any other.”

Hard Attack is the nation's first 24-hour metal radio station on Sirius Satellite Radio, a new national radio service for the car that will provide 100 channels of digital entertainment coast-to-coast, including 60 original channels of completely commercial-free music. Sirius' service is presently available in 11 states — Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, and New Mexico — with its national rollout expected to be completed by July 1st. For more information, and to check out Hard Attack via streaming audio, go to www.sirius.com.

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