Mitch Lafon of PureGrainAudio.com recently conducted an interview with former METALLICA, VOIVOD and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist and current NEWSTED frontman Jason Newsted. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PureGrainAudio.com: You were in METALLICA. You've been with OZZY OSBOURNE. You've played with VOIVOD. Why not call up a known band that needs a "name" bass player, hop on stage with them and tour arenas? Why the need to make new music and start back at the beginning?
Jason: I've done my part of labors of love with ECHOBRAIN and VOIVOD. METALLICA already existed and that was an opportunity of a lifetime. I feel that I was destined to be the person that carried on with them and made it to the places that we went to... The highest heights that you could do with that kind of music. That had to be. The other things were really out of friendship and respect. The fun stuff like the experience I got to have with Ozzy was more like a dream. To have one of your heroes and teachers say, "Come jam with me" — not much thinking there. ECHOBRAIN, VOIVOD, SEPULTURA, GOV'T MULE and all kinds of other stuff through time have been about building experiences and trying to stay a well rounded player, keep my chops up, enjoy the music and live life a little bit. A lot of opportunities came my way, so I seized a lot of them and I turned some down.
PureGrainAudio.com: August 8th 1992 — GUNS N' ROSES and METALLICA play the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. We all know what happened. What most fans don't know is the "rest" of the story. METALLICA returned to Montreal in February 1993 and played two free shows (or it cost 5$ or something like that) to make up for the Olympic Stadium show. Why was it important for you and the band to come back? Why not just take the money and run?
Jason: Integrity and a man's word.
PureGrainAudio.com: Because that's the part of the story that got lost. We've all seen on MTV the cars being turned over, the fires being lit and the clashes with the police, but nobody knows that you came back and did two shows for free...
Jason: They cost us money.
PureGrainAudio.com: I can imagine.
Jason: As long as you brought in your stub from the other show, you got in for free. Whoever didn't, had to give a donation to a food bank or something. We didn't take the money. It's an integrity thing and it's not the first time that we'd made up shows. When "force majeure" kept us from playing in Sweden because all the fluids had froze up on the buses... We'd always go back and make those shows up. There's only three (that I know of) that we canceled in the fifteen years that I was in METALLICA.
PureGrainAudio.com: Is that why METALLICA has had their success? Because they've never screwed the fans.
Jason: It's one of the factors. There are quite a few factors, but that is definitely one of them. Loyalty to the fans and the fans' loyalty back. They've always made people feel a part of the rise, a part of the power, a part of the army, a part of the band, a part of the success... They've always made people feel a part of it. I'm just now realizing how much that band has meant to so many people in their lives. They've meant so much to me of course, but I mean really... I knew it moved people and I know we've brought more joy than sadness no matter how heavy the music gets... So, that's success right there. No matter how many records they sell or not, METALLICA have been ambassadors of metal in a really good way...
PureGrainAudio.com: You must take a certain pride in doing that...
Jason: Always and setting an example. Just like what you were talking about with Montreal... That was setting an example. That's what you're supposed to do kids. That's what it comes down to. They've had the same people working for them for thirty years (from managers to guitar techs to stage builders) — that's another factor. They've stayed true to their people and their people have stayed true to them. There are a few things we know about them: They work real hard. They don't say no to stuff and they take new chances... There are a lot of factors that make METALLICA what they are.
PureGrainAudio.com: How do you take a lesson like that and apply it to NEWSTED? Also, when people come to a NEWSTED show will it be the best of METALLICA, OZZY and VOIVOD or what can people expect?
Jason: I have a lot of options to keep it interesting and I'm not going to be crazy blatant about ripping things off, but I am going to remind people where it came from. I was to keep it very entertaining and it's going to be heavy as shit. That's my deal. There's a little bit of danger in what people expect (because of my pedigree). I want them to expect something — that drives me more. You're not going to make everybody happy and you know that, dude. You've been doing this long enough. I've been doing this long enough. You just go and do your thing and people that dig it — dig it. The people that don't, be on your way and go listen to FIVE FINGER, EMPEROR, DEICIDE, or whatever... Peace to everybody. There's room for everybody; let's just rock.
Read the entire interview at PureGrainAudio.com.