JASON NEWSTED Leaves OZZY OSBOURNE, Is Replaced By ROB ZOMBIE Bassist

Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted has officially left OZZY OSBOURNE and has been replaced by ex-ROB ZOMBIE bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson. Newsted, who was with the band for less than a year, left due to undisclosed reasons.

"It's still settling in," Nicholson told MTV.com about his new gig. "It's something I never would have imagined. After playing with Rob Zombie, I was ready to go, 'OK, this is as far as I'm taking this bass-playing thing. This is the end of the road.' I was ready to kind of hang it up.

"But when this came around, it was very odd," he added. "I was almost like, 'There is no possible way that this could happen.' "

At least one other bassist — FEAR FACTORY's Christian Olde Wolbers — jammed with Ozzy, guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Mike Bordin in recent weeks, but Nicholson was hired after successfully completing two auditions.

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"The first audition was a little intimidating, to say the least," Nicholson said. "Granted, I know Zakk and I've been on Ozzfest before. The situation wasn't uncomfortable, it was just intimidating, playing these songs that I had never played. But the second audition, I was a lot more prepared.

" 'Into the Void' is my favorite BLACK SABBATH song and Ozzy called it out," he continued. "At that moment, I realized, even if I don't get the gig, the fact that I got to play 'Into the Void' with Ozzy was the coolest moment of my life!"

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