Jason Newsted Discusses New Grass Roots Project, Lessons Learned From Metallica

Posted by on January 17, 2013

Speaking of Metallica, it seems like you’ve kept a nice, open relationship with them. With the Orion Music + More festival coming up, has there been any discussion of Newsted playing it?

There hasn’t been any discussion of any specific details with Metallica. I would love to do it. I’m open to anything. We’ve got all kinds of different scenarios before us: headlining a House of Blues circuit thing, opening for Motorhead, doing international festivals, doing domestic festivals. We want to play some military bases. We want to do B and C and D markets in the middle of nowhere, I want to take it everywhere I can possibly take it. So if those guys give me an opportunity to do it, right on. If not, right on,  I’m still going to make my noise. I’d love to be included, mostly because it’s in Michigan, and that’s my home. The biggest responses for any band I’ve taken out, whether it’s Voivod, Echobrain, Papa Wheelie, the biggest response is always in Detroit, hands down. Kid Rock goes back, Anthony Keidis goes back, I go back, we’re heralded. It’s a strong thing, so if they included me in that, it’d be wonderful.


Are there any current bands right now that you dig?

Current bands, there’s a lot of what I call “the spawn.” Metallica was the spawn of Black Sabbath and Motorhead. These new bands are the spawn of us and Exodus and Slayer and stuff. Mastodon is at the top of my list. I really like their Orange amplifier crunch, the tonalities, the bass player, all that I dig big time. They take themselves not that seriously, they can really get down with metal, good prowess on the instruments, but they have tongue-in-cheek lyrics, a bit jokey. I like that, I really like it. It’s appealing to me. The Sword is fantastic. I’ve been in their corner since the beginning. Graveyard, I like a lot. Red Fang I’m digging. It’s great stony metal, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. Muse is a band that might not be defined as a metal band because they cover so much ground, but they can get as heavy as anybody, so they can do no wrong in my eyes.


What have you noticed has changed most about the music industry throughout your time in it?

There’s so many things that have changed. I was out of the big time for a while – I toured with Ozzy in ’03 and that was the last time I did any serious touring at amphitheaters. So much has transpired since then. Some of the old avenues still exist, that I knew and  learned during the Metallica days, but so much has changed that I’m learning every day. I started reaching out into social media about ten weeks ago, and so far I’ve been building a pretty good vibe with the people and reconnecting with the fans. It’s always been my thing, the connection with the fans, and now I’ve got new modes to do it with. It’s not me standing in front of them listening to their stories – I can reach all corners of the globe just hanging out in my studio and talking to them. That’s a fantastic discovery that actually gives me a lot of hope. The vibrations I’ve been getting back from the people are so positive and so inspiring, and they motivate me. It’s always been my fuel. The reason I’s doing this is because of the fans. I could paint for the rest of my days, or chill, or  just jam in my studio, but they bring me back into this, and that’s why I’m doing it now. There are a lot of changes, but some things that never change. You’ve got to take the music to the people, and hopefully sell them a CD or a t-shirt at the show to keep the wheels turning. There’s not going to be people selling millions of albums any more unless it’s an exceptional kind of thing. Music is your calling card. You get people’s attention with the music, and then you take the live stuff to them and follow through.


You mentioned playing with Ozzy. How did your time with him end?

It was just business. In February of ’03, Robert joined Metallica, and Sharon called me and asked if I would play with Ozzy. I said sure, but I was in the middle of making a Voivod record, and we were planning a tour, so I said as long as Voivod goes wherever Ozzy goes, I would play bass for Ozzy, and we would open. That was the deal we made. So for the next six or so months, we opened for him, and I was doing double duty. But then Ozzy had the ATV accident and broke his neck. That canceled the European tour that we were scheduled to go on with Ozzy. That was that – he couldn’t play with his broken neck and we had no idea what was going to happen. So I jumped full focus into Voivod, made the record, and continued on.

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