Jason Newsted Speaks on “Egos” and “Posturing” in Metallica
Jason Newsted has been in the press a whole lot lately thanks to the super-duper-deluxe reissue treatment the Black Album got for its 30th anniversary. And he’s been a good sport, handling whatever questions interviews throw at him about a band he hasn’t been in for 20 years now. With nothing to lose, he’s also been incredibly honest about that period of his life, but he’s done it in a classy way that doesn’t come off as snippy or bitter.
Newsted’s latest bit came in an interview with Metallica’s own So What! podcast. Asked what the recording sessions for the Black Album were like, he took the opportunity to share how membership of the Metallica “club” intersected with the different personalities and “egos” of the other band members, as well as the “posturing” that went on to position the band a certain way publicly.
He said, as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar:
“It definitely felt different – the trial by fire is well documented, and we really have to remember that there was so much more joy, excitement, and feeling of accomplishment…
“I’m so eager to please and willing to be a part of everything that I possibly can, and give my all to it, and all those things.
“So they saw that – I think that was quite apparent from very early on that I was willing to go through whatever it took, whether it’s from them or whoever or whatever, I was willing to play my part in their outfit to help them make it happen from that time.
“So that part definitely felt different – I had proven myself on the road, I would get super sick and still go play anyway…
“You have to do the things you got to do to prove yourself in that kind of a club. And I did, and so going into that, I felt better, I felt more confident, I was feeling way better about the positioning of my bass in the orchestra, that type of thing.
“And I was ready for Bob [Rock, producer] to show me what it really took. I was ready for it, he was right there to tell me. I had hit that point as my comprehension of bass, I never let my chops go, I always kept playing.
“I always practiced, I always tried, I never wanted to be off. When those guys asked me to play something, I’m right there, we’re not messing around, no questions, just, ‘Yeah, I got it.’
“So that was super important, so I knew that going in that’s how I was going to do it. The only thing I would say was most noticeable, that you of course noticed by now, was the posturing.
“There had to be that certain posturing, you got these egos of this already accomplished unit as Metallica, you had the individual posturing of Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] inside that.
“The first album [1983’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’] says ‘co-produced by Hetfield and Ulrich,’ something like that. They started getting into that place because Bob’s coming in posturing with his ego and his accomplishments.
“So we got the inner workings of the big workings, posturing, everybody knows the potential – ‘Master of Puppets’ did this, what it did to the real authentic people that want to hear that shit! That set everybody on fire that knew better.
“That posture for the ‘Justice’ they had and because of the thing with Cliff [Burton, bass], there was so much focus on what was going to happen with this incredibly promising band.
“And then they knew that so ‘Justice’ did really good and toured it even better, than the record sold like holy crap, even though it was going so fast and sounded like that, it had ‘One’ on it, and then the video [for ‘One’] came, and so it blew up…
“And so what’s going to happen next? They could only go forward, they can only go up. So let’s invest all this money in this producer, give them a point or two on the record, and then pull any of these other guys.
“And this dude, this professional thing, and rent out the most expensive studio you can in Los Angeles for nine months, and whatever the hell all went down.
“Posture, posture, posture, posture… And then it had to work itself out inside the walls, inside the four-foot thick walls.”
Some other recent Newsted press highlights include that he was “fucking livid” when he heard the first mix of … And Justice for All and that he says he inspired Metallica to cut their hair in the mid ’90s. It’s good reading! Would recommend.
The Metallica Blacklist, which features 50+ artists spanning a vast range of genres covering songs from Metallica’s Black Album, features contributions from Corey Taylor, Ghost, Miley Cyrus, Volbeat, Weezer, Biffy Clyro, Chris Stapleton, Royal Blood, the Hu, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith, Phoebe Bridgers, and more. That comes out on October 1, while the super-duper-extra-special-deluxe thirtieth anniversary reissue of the Black Album arrived on September 10.
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]