The February 2002 issue of Guitar World magazine features an interview with former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted, in which the four-stringer speaks at great length about the events that led to his decision earlier this year to leave the aforementioned act. Here are some of the article's highlights (all quotes by Newsted):
"[METALLICA frontman] James [Hetfield] essentially said that I couldn't do METALLICA if I was going to have other bands. It was like, 'If you do anything else, you're not giving full time to METALLICA.' And it was kind of strange, because [at that time] we were going to take six months off-they were going to go be with their kids, or whatever. What the f.ck was I going to do?"
"For shows and rehearsals, I was always the first one in and the last one out. I was into it, man. I really was a 25-hours-a-day METALLICA person. Nothing took priority over METALLICA."
"It was just time for me to take off. It was a tough decision to make, but it had to be made. Now that I look back on it, I don't think James handled it the right way, but it was a great reality check for everyone. I have no negativity toward them, no bad vibes or anything. I'm thankful for the ride and the way we broke down a lot of barriers for other bands. My leaving happened for a reason. It was the same way with my arrival in the group: I came in and gave them a boost at a very difficult time in their lives. Now they have the opportunity to move into the next era of METALLICA, to continue as the kings of that thing James and Lars started 20-plus years ago."
"Unlike the other guys in METALLICA, I don't have a family that I have to make a commitment to. So my songs and my music, those are my children-that's what I spend my time on. When you threaten my children, I'm going to get pretty pissed off. When you question my commitment to our team, and then you throw rocks at what else I try to achieve, that's kind of f.cked up, man!"
"Truly one of the other reasons that I had to go from METALLICA was my neck. All those years of playing solid-maple Alembics for two and a half hours a night did its damage. When I saw doctors about it, they said, 'You pretty much give yourself whiplash every night.' A specialist told me that I should no longer go like this [moves head back and forth] or this [moves side to side]. And that was in 1990!
"The performer that people know me as, I'm not sure I could be him in METALLICA anymore. And if I can't be, I'm not gonna be. They could see me a hundred shows strong and one show weak they remember the weak one. That ain't gonna happen to me. They're gonna remember me as strong and crazy, doing my thing."
"I think I've gotten my fill of grinding the E-minor thing at full volume. I feel good about where I've taken that, and I feel good that I was part of something that set the standards for that style of music. But now I'm playing some other music that is dear to me and playing with some other people that inspire me."
[On his potential replacement in METALLICA]
"You're gonna have to be a bad motherf.cker first of all, to get past the obvious history and then to stand in the same room and play with James Hetfield and be good enough, because he's the best rhythm guitar player there is in heavy music, hands down. I would like to see an old friend of the family be able to be the bass player. Me, personally, I'd like to see Joey Vera [ARMORED SAINT/FATES WARNING]. I think it'd be greatJoey's smart, production-wise, and he's an extremely capable instrumentalist. And he's been a friend for 20 yearshe knows the story he knows the guys. He's also, like, one of the more genuine people around."