Hetfield is untouchable – Newsted
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted says he had the best teacher ever in frontman James Hetfield when it came to learning how to lead his own band.
Newsted’s self-titled outfit has released their first EP after he announced the end of a self-imposed semi-retirement last year. And he’s credited fans for bringing him back when he found it difficult to keep going after quitting Metallica in 2001, despite work with Echobrain, Ozzy Osbourne, Voivod and others.
He insists it was important to give the new band his own name, telling Geeks Of Doom: “I wanted to make it very clear what was happening this time: that this was a fan-driven, enlightened, happening, offering. It was absolutely fuelled by the fans.
“When I played with Metallica at The Fillmore for the 30th anniversary shows I thought it was going to be fun. I had no idea the outcome was going to be like it was.
“The actual physical feeling from the fans, the energy, the respect, just the magnitude of it – I had no idea. It hit me hard, and it got better with each day as we played together and then I just felt it again. They called me back, and that’s why we are talking now.”
Even though Newsted has played and sung in the past, he channelled former bandmate Hetfield when he wanted to raise his game. “I’m getting someplace where I can actually sing some leads and play the guitar parts at the same time, which is quite challenging,” he says.
“I have been fortunate enough to be around Hetfield for 15 years. He’s the best at playing and singing – it’s just impossible to do some of those parts that he plays on guitar and still sing a straight vocal line.
“It just gets my vote forever as far as the capacity to do that. He’s just untouchable in that way. Being exposed to that and being able to let it rub off on you, I just try to take it in. So I will pay a lot of credit to that.”
He also credits Voivod bandmate Snake, saying: “Being exposed to his work was probably one of the most character-building and musician-building parts of my career so far.”
But Newsted – who recently admitted he was “a dick” in the past – says he still suffers some doubt, generated from his desire to deliver a musical experience his fans deserve.
“I have a lot of confidence when I’m holding onto my bass,” he reflects. “I can play in front of anybody or with any musician. But as far as the guitar and stuff, I just don’t have the same amount of hours and weeks of use on it.
“There’s a lot of new roles for me to take on here and it will be exciting to see what transpires. I know I’m going to have to practice hard and I will.
“I will make sure that we are ready.”
Newsted’s Metal EP is available now on iTunes.