Michael Gilbert says FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's connection to METALLICA was "a curse" up until just a few years ago.
After METALLICA's previous bassist, the iconic Cliff Burton, died in a bus accident in September 1986, the band hired then-FLOTSAM member Jason Newsted. Newsted toured and recorded with METALLICA for nearly a decade and a half before leaving the band in 2001.
Asked in a new interview with the "Talk Toomey" podcast if being associated with METALLICA for so long has turned out to be a blessing or a curse, Gilbert said: "It was a curse up until a few years back when I think people finally understood that this wasn't Jason Newsted's band. He was a member — he was a one-fifth member — just like everybody else. He didn't do more or less than anybody. And I think we've kind of proven that over the years. Not that we really felt we needed to prove it. We've always had our own identity with him or without him."
The FLOTSAM guitarist went on to say that he and his bandmates "were always pretty positive" and supportive about Newsted's decision to join METALLICA.
"Who wouldn't take that opportunity and run with it?" Gilbert said. "It's a great opportunity for the guy. All we could do is wish him all the luck. Even more than a bandmember, he's a friend."
In a 2017 interview with Florida Coast Magazine, Newsted said about his stint with METALLICA: "I got to join my favorite band. I got real, real fucking lucky and got to travel around the world five times. Just imagine being in a dreamlike state for 15 years — that is the only way I could sum up what the experience entailed. Suffice it to say, I had too much fun."
Singer Eric "A.K." Knutson is the lone original member of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, which formed 38 years ago in Phoenix, Arizona.
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's latest album, "The End Of Chaos", was released in January via AFM Records.