January 17th, 2001
Newsted joined “Metallica” in the fall of 1986 following the tragic death of legendary bassist Cliff Burton. He came from “Flotsam and Jetsam” and was recommended to “Metallica” by “Metal Blade” President Brian Slagel.
Newsted, a rampant Metallica fan, joined the band in 1986 following the death of original bassist Cliff Burton in a tour bus accident in Sweden. He was with the band for six Metallica albums, beginning with …And Justice for All, right the through the band’s collaboration with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony on the Grammy-nominated S&M.
Rolling Stone magazine at the time posted this.. Jason Newsted has quit Metallica. The bassist cites “private and personal reasons, and the physical damage that I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love” as his motivation for leaving in a post on the band’s official Web site, http://www.metallica.com.
Though some say the real reason why Jason quit was because he was limited to what he could or couldn’t do in and outside the band.
“Watch a couple videos from 1990 and it’s not hard to figure out how I damaged myself,” he said. “I mean, 200 days a year I would give myself full-on whiplash. In 1990, the doctor told me to stop doing that. Well, I did 10 more years of it after that and now I’m kind of in this spot. I can’t perform as the performer people know me as, like a complete psycho. Doing that kind of touring is not in the cards for me right now.”
In a 2013 interview with Scuzz TV, Newsted revised his position, stating that his departure from Metallica stemmed mostly from his dedication to Echobrain and the band’s management’s interest in the side project — an interest that wasn’t shared by Metallica frontman James Hetfield.
“Management wanted me to do Echobrain also, with Metallica,” Newsted said. “They felt Echobrain was that good. The singer was that good, and it didn’t affect Metallica because it was a totally different kind of thing, and I was in Metallica; that would give it its pedigree already.”
Newsted said Hetfield became defensive and territorial when he learned that management was interested in Echobrain. For Hetfield, Metallica was the be all and end all for any of its members. No one was to step outside of the circle and tour with any major side projects.
“He was, I think, pretty much out to put the kibosh on the whole thing because it would somehow affect Metallica in his eyes,” Newsted told Scuzz TV.”… I have no idea what James was thinking, other than just protecting what he valued, just like he does; that’s his thing.
He protects what he loves, squeezes it too hard, like he said himself. Squeeze it too hard, protecting it too much.
That’s where I was coming from. The people that I had counted on for 15 years to help me with my career, help Metallica, take care of my money, do all of those things, told me, ‘Your new project is fantastic, we’d like to help you with it.’ James heard about it, the manager calls me back a couple of days later — ‘Sorry we’re not going to be able to help you with that Echobrain thing.’”
In a statement issued after his departure, Newsted, exhibiting the fine art of diplomacy, said, “This is the most difficult decision of my life, made in the best interest of my family, myself, and the continued growth of Metallica.
I extend my love, thanks, and best wishes to my brothers: James, Lars and Kirk and the rest of the Metallica family, friends, and fans who have made these years so unforgettable.
Behind the scenes, Newsted was more defensive. “It was like having two of my children taken away from me,” he said. “They went about it all wrong. It just wasn’t right.”
In response to Newsted’s decision to quit, Metallica issued their own statements. “James, Kirk and I look forward to embracing the next chapter of Metallica with both a huge amount of appreciation for the last 14 years with Jason and the excitement of rising to the challenges that lay ahead to make Metallica shine brighter than ever,” said Ulrich. “We part ways with Jason with more love, more mutual respect, and more understanding of each other than at any other point in the past.”
“Jason is our brother,” added Hammett. “He will be missed.