Enlarge But don't worry, he'd still be rich even without those sales.

Jason Newsted Could Probably Just Live Off Royalties from Metallica’s Black Album for the Rest of His Life

  • Axl Rosenberg

As we’ve been reminded time and time again, Metallica’s Black Album is so popular it nearly defies comprehension (and I say that as someone who loves The Black Album). Even Lars Ulrich is shocked that the thing still sells 5,000 copies a week, nearly twenty-six years after its release.

This fun fact got our buddy Rob from Metal Injection wondering: could a member of Metallica just live off royalties from The Black Album for the rest of their lives? And then, Dio love ‘im, Rob had the balls to just flat-out ask former ‘Tallica bassist Jason Newsted during a recent episode of The Metal Injection Livecast. Newsted’s response?

“Everything you said is correct, as far as the sales of the record is something that’s never been seen before, it’s this thing that won’t go away, and everything we couldn’t ever have predicted, so that’s plain and simple, that’s information for anybody to know or find. But early on, when I joined the band in ’86 and they were already headed up by some very together people. Some very together team of management and other people that handled their business. From day one, even when I was just a hired gun before I started getting a cut — it took five and a half months before I started getting a full cut. So the first five and a half months, I was just a session guy. So by April of ’87, which was… yeah, check THAT shit out. Thirty years ago this month, I joined as a full member taking a full cut.

“So, from that time, the persons that handled them and guided them, also took me under their wing and guided me. OK? And the people that know what goes on with investments. So, when we did what we did and were able to hit what we hit, and hit that stride, and we were able to take it to the people when there were that many 12- to 16-year old male individuals on the planet that we played our metal to and they came and checked out the stuff and we made some bucks and CDs still sold and T-shirts still sold, and we really invested money. That’s all.

“It’s cool that the record’s selling and that’s great, but I mostly do things for other people with that money. So […] The Black Album really didn’t have to sell anymore either, because somebody helped me early on in my career.”

So, basically, Newsted would have been rich with or without The Black Album. That’s gotta ease the sting of his bass on …And Justice for All being inaudible, eh?

I’ll tell you the part of this quote that actually intrigues me most: when he says that “I mostly do things for other people with that [Black Album] money.” Does the dude make a ton of charitable donations that don’t get reported in the press? Does he have an entourage he supports? Is there a Jason Newsted Grant for Bassists? Just curious.

You can listen to the entire interview here. It starts around the hour-fifty mark.

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