Jason Newsted Was “F*cking Livid” the First Time He Heard Metallica’s …And Justice for All


Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted tells Metal Hammer he was “fucking livid” the first time he heard the band’s 1988 release, …And Justice for All.

Justice, of course, was Newsted’s first with the band, replacing the late Cliff Burton. Newsted’s parts were famously rendered inaudible in the mix as part of the bassist’s “hazing.”

Says Newsted today about listening to the completed record for the first time:

“I was fucking livid! Are you kidding me? I was ready [to go] for throats, man!

“No, I was out of my head, because I really thought I did well. And I thought I played how I was supposed to play.” 

Newsted goes on to reveal that producer Flemming Rasmussen and the other members of Metallica weren’t even present in the studio when he recorded his bass lines — which should have been his first clue that something was amiss. He also contends that drummer Lars Ulrich has always been “anti-bass” to a certain degree:

“Lars and James [Hetfield] were the original garage band duo, as far as that goes. They always made the records that way, from [1982 demo cassette] No Life ’Til  Leather, it was Lars and James, guitar and drums. On the original No Life ’Til Leather cassette – if you happen to ever see a real copy or a photo of a real copy – in Lars’ handwriting, in ink pen, on the label of the cassette, [it reads] ‘Turn bass down on stereo.’ On No Life ’Til Leather!

They mixed it how it was supposed to be mixed: there’s the bass and there’s the guitar from all the way back. But Lars didn’t want [that] because it messed with his drums somehow,  so when he sends the demo out to fucking Combat Records and wherever, [his instruction is] ‘Turn the bass down before you even listen to this.’ Before you even get it going, just turn the bass down. Right from the get go. Before you even start. That’s where he’s been his whole goddamn life, so why would it be any different when it came to [And Justice For All]? They made Kill ’Em All that way, they made Ride… that way, they made Master… that way, all of them. Those two guys in a room [mimics drum beats and playing], that’s the way it always happened. [For] the most successful metal band of all time. So you argue with this shit? I’m not really sure.” 

In a 2015 interview, mixing engineer Steve Thompson blamed Ulrich for the lack of bass on Justice; Rassmussen seconded that assertion in 2017.

Meanwhile, in 2019, Hetfield denied the band was hazing Newsted:

“It was not all about, ‘Fuck him. Let’s turn him down.’ That’s for sure. We were burnt. We were frigging fried. Going back and forth [between touring and mixing the album]. Playing a gig. No earplugs, no nothing, You go back into the studio, your hearing is shot. If your ears can’t hear any high end anymore, you’re gonna turn it up. So we’re turning the high end up more and more and more and all of a sudden, low end’s gone. So I know that played a bigger part than any hazing or any ill feelings towards Jason, for sure. We were fried. We were burnt.”

He also reiterated that the band will never add bass to the album:

“[W]hy would you change that? Why would you change history? Why would you all of a sudden put bass on it? There is bass on it, but why would you remix an album? You can remaster it, yes, but why would you remix something and make it different? It’d be like… I don’t know. Not that I’m comparing us to the Mona Lisa, but it’s, like, ‘Uh, can we make her smile a little better?!’ You know?! Why?”

Metallica will release a deluxe 30th anniversary edition of the Black Album on September 10. Additionally, on October 1, they’ll release The Metallica Blacklist, an album that “celebrates the enduring influence of Metallica with an unprecedented 50+ artists spanning an unbelievably vast range of genres, generations, cultures, continents and more, each contributing a unique interpretation of their favorite Black Album cut.” The collection includes such as Corey Taylor, VolbeatWeezerBiffy Clyro, Ghost, the Hu, by Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith, and Robert TrujilloPhoebe Bridger, and more.

Metallica have been deep in “some pretty serious writing” for their next album since last November with the most recent update, indicating ten songs were partially written, coming this past May via frontman James Hetfield.

Upcoming Metallica live dates:

9/24/21 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life at Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center [tickets]
9/26/21 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life at Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center [tickets]
10/8/21 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock at Discovery Park [tickets]
10/10/21 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock at Discovery Park [tickets]
11/4/21 – Hollywood, FL — Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino [tickets]
11/12/21 – Daytona Beach, FL – Welcome to Rockville at the Daytona International Speedway [tickets]
11/14/21 – Daytona Beach, FL – Welcome to Rockville at the Daytona International Speedway [tickets]
12/17/21 — San Francisco, CA — Chase Center [fan club only]
12/19/21 — San Francisco, CA — Chase Center [fan club only]
6/15/22 – Copenhell – Copenhagen, Denmark [tickets]
6/17/22 – Firenze Rocks – Florence, Italy [tickets]
6/19/22 – Prague Rocks – Prague, Czech Republic [tickets]
6/22/22 – Rock Werchter – Werchter, Belgium [tickets]
7/1/22 – Mad Cool – Madrid, Spain [tickets]
7/6/22 – NOS Alive – Lisbon, Portugal [tickets]

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