Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted recently spoke to the Palm Beach Florida Weekly about the physical damage that playing heavy metal music and headbanging has done to his body. He said: "I haven't had a direct interaction with anybody other than doctors about that kind of stuff. It's mostly my family and wife and people who have known me for a long, long time.
"About 1992 in New York, I was in a real bad way," he revealed. "It was about eight or 10 months into a tour, with very little rest. I had herniated these C discs. It was just an occupational hazard. It came with the territory. The reason I said anything about it is because it happened to me. Over time, what happened was they told me I was giving myself whiplash every night. You're doing it thousands of times a day — how many in a week, in a month? Literally millions of times. It's flesh and bone, and it breaks down. Now I've let myself heal, and I haven't done it in 19 years.
"When I play in this band," referring to his current project, the CHOPHOUSE BAND, "I play guitar — lighter instruments and acoustic instruments. It's not this maple five-string bass that weighs 20 pounds. All that ergonomics is nutty."
According to Newsted, every show with METALLICA was a workout. "I stayed the exact same weight for 27 years," he explained. "We always knew that was going to happen. You can weigh yourself before the show, and it was at least a three-pound difference, sometimes more. We'd rate the power and energy of the show by how many T-shirts we went through. You could wring 'em out and fill up a bottle. Four was a pretty good show. Everybody had their way of keeping fit. I took my bicycle on tour with me for years."
Jason left METALLICA back in 2001, but was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, along with Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and the man who replaced him, bassist Robert Trujillo, in 2009.
Six years ago, Jason shelved NEWSTED, the heavy metal project he operated between 2012 and 2014, saying that it cost him "an awful lot of money — hundreds of thousands of dollars." He later explained: "I couldn't continue because the business is such a harsh thing now and so different than what I had known."