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Metallica Release Jason Newsted ‘Riff Tape’ Demo of “My Friend of Misery”

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I’m as sick of talking about the Black Album as anyone who didn’t actually help make the Black Album, but this is actually a truly interesting insight into Metallica’s creative process.

See, there is one song, and one song only, on the Black Album for which Jason Newsted gets a songwriting credit (which he shares with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich): “My Friend of Misery.” And I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering, over the years, what exactly Newsted’s contributions to the song were.

Now we actually know the answer, thanks to Newsted’s original “riff tape” demo of the track. If you always suspected that Newsted was responsible for the bass-heavy intro and pre-solo section, you were correct. Newsted’s original version of that music was a little different, but clearly recognizable as the “Misery” we all know love and today.

What we never could have guessed was that Newsted actually wrote a whole other song around that intro, which Hetfield and Ulrich ultimately discarded. I love “Misery” and wouldn’t trade it for the tennis balls in Denmark… but Newsted’s original iteration of the song is quite beautiful, and probably could have been turned into something great all on its own.

Check it out below. It’s part of the super-duper-extra-special-deluxe thirtieth anniversary reissue of the Black Album, which is out 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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