Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted took part in a Mighty Fine Guitars live Facebook webcast on Friday, July 22. The event was hosted by Stevie Coyle. Newsted debuted his new, mostly acoustic project, WOULD AND STEAL — in which he is joined by Rob Tucker — and spoke about his decision to embark on this brand new musical journey three decades after he joined METALLICA as the replacement for Cliff Burton.
Newsted said (see video below): “After thirty years of playing heavy music and travelling around the world — I’ve been around the globe about five and a half times, fifty-five countries — I’ve already climbed that mountain; there is no more of that mountain to be climbed. So within the accolades that I shared of the group’s success — I was one member of that group, something bigger than all of us; and we got Grammy Awards and [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame and all those different things — that’s as far as you can go in that kind of music, and it’s someone else’s turn to have fun in that music now.”
He continued: “I can’t play like SLIPKNOT now; those guys are heavier and faster than I could ever dream of playing now. So this is how I can play, and this is what I’ll do for the rest of time.
“I always wanna play music; I have to have it in my every day, and if I don’t, I’ll go mad — literally. Anybody that knows me knows that. And so now as I play this, I find myself being able to expose myself to more people. I’d say age four to ninety-four can listen to this music and enjoy it. How can’t you like Johnny Cash? How can’t you like ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken?’ You have to like those songs, American music like that.”
Despite the more laid-back musical direction of his new project, Newsted was quick to point out that he still plays metal “all the time. But this project happens to be this style of music,” he added. “This happens to be the thing right now that I wanna share with everybody. So it’s no different attitude, approach or commitment to this music as it is in metal. It’s the same — the commitment to whatever style of music is always the same; I go all the way in — and now it’s to the point that I just wanna do it and share it. There’s not a big deal about making a bunch of money at it or any of those things, or, ‘Hey, look at me here. Check me out,’ or competing with anybody else; that no longer exists for me. Whatever happens in our studio now is what we’re trying to share with people and anybody that gives a crap. If they wanna come and share it, that’s cool. And if they don’t, and they only like metal and wanna listen to metal, then peace, and more power to you. I’m doing this, and that’s what’s good for me. And I hope everybody else decides what’s good for them.”
Newsted and undisclosed “friends” will play two acoustic benefit concerts for Little Kids Rock, which provides children in economically challenged school districts with instruments and music education, on August 5 and August 6 at Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette, California.
Jason in February 2014 canceled an appearance at Australia’s Soundwave festival with his NEWSTED project, citing “private and personal circumstances.” The cancelation followed more than a year of intense touring and promotional activity surrounding the release of NEWSTED’s “Metal” EP and follow-up album, “Heavy Metal Music”, both of which were positively received by the critics and fans alike.
In September 2014, Newsted announced that he was no longer on “Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social networking web site” and added that he had “no affiliation with any such impostor sites using his name or likeness unlawfully.”
After staying mostly out of the public eye for the past couple of years, Newsted rejoined Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD on stage during their June 8 concert at Slim’s in San Francisco, California.
Jason left METALLICA back in 2001 but was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009, along with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and the man who replaced him, bassist Robert Trujillo.