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Jason Newsted Takes Credit for Metallica Cutting Hair, Comments on “The Newsted” Hairdo

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An unexpected but delightful side effect of Metallica’s pending 30th anniversary Black Album super-duper-deluxe-edition release has been seeing Jason Newsted back in the press again. After stints in Voivod, Echo Brain and his solo project, he’s been fairly quiet for a number of years now, but naturally there is a LOT to talk about where Metallica are concerned, and he’s been serving up no shortage of headline-ready quotes.

The latest — and, frankly, I can’t believe it took this long to discuss it — finds The Metal Hammer Podcast asking Newsted about Metallica’s drastic decision to cut their hair short in 1996 in conjunction with the release of Load, itself a controversial album. Newsted claims the other members of Metallica followed his lead — “I cut my hair in 1992” — after seeing how easy it became for him to clear airport security and date “Playboy girls” with his sleek new do. He also name-checks “the Newsted,” the posthumously-named haircut featuring shaved sides and long hair everywhere else, which has made a comeback amongst younger folks in recent years.

Responding to a question about the criticisms the band faced during the Load era, including the haircuts, Newsted responded:

“People are so finicky. I very honestly never gave it one thought. I saw it go by, but just dude, I mean, come on… Come up with something legitimately… Something, you know?

“I couldn’t really be included in that deal because I cut my hair in 1992, and so those guys didn’t do it until ’96. I did crazy shit from ’92 to ’96.

“You know what’s really funny…? When we started getting to more countries, and as the borders started to get a little squirrely, and those guys all still had their shaggy hair, and I was slick, and sometimes just freaking nice – like a cop or something. I just cruised right through customs, bro, cruise right through. ‘This way, mister…’ And those fuckers would get [stopped] left and right.

“James would get pulled all the god damn time, Lars would get pulled a lot because he always looked so fucking tired and… I mean, when he decides to go, he’d take down a gallon, he’d be way swollen and fucking sweaty the next 30 hours, all fucked up because he goes hard. When we’re going for it, we’re going for it. When you have that kind of look on you, going through the airport, they’re thinking maybe you swallowed something, maybe they’re trying to hide something, you put something up your ass and it broke, something like that. ‘Why are you so sweating and clamming and shit?’ So they’d pull him, I’d walk right on through. And after a while they saw how this was easy to do, and like, I started dating models, Playboy girls, and stuff, and they were going, ‘What the fuck?’

“I did my shave thing for a while, the Newsted, the sides clean, did that for a while, and then James slowly did it, and then Kirk [Hammett, guitar] slowly did it, so they both did it, all three of us had that at one point.

“So the next thing – we were going to take it all off. Years later, they take it all off, I don’t know. There’s something to that.”

I’d like to conclude this post by embedding a bunch of photos of Jason sporting The Newsted, a legendary metal do if ever there was one, but we’d probably get sued for using photos we don’t have the rights to. So I’ll embed this “Jason Newsted Headbanging Montage” video instead, in which someone else has taken on the legal burden for us along with the magic of motion video pictures (oddly it’s set to Children of Bodom music… easier to avoid copyright detection, perhaps?) Enjoy!

You can listen to the full Metal Hammer chat with Newsted here or read a quick transcription of some key moments here, including some bits on his ’90s collaborations with Sepultura and Devin Townsend.

[via Ultimate Guitar]

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