Jason Newsted's eponymous band takes off
As the bass player in Metallica, Jason Newsted went through the ringer. He toured the world nonstop for 14 years, suffered damage to his neck as well as his emotional state. More than a decade after he left the band, he's ready to dive head-first into metal with his band once again with Newsted.
"I went almost six times around the world in that amount of time," Newsted told SoundSpike about his time in Metallica. "We would do hundreds of shows per tour and be home for three weeks a year. It was pretty crazy in that way."
Newsted is in the midst of a world tour in support of his EP "Metal," which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes metal chart. The collection is a teaser for his full-length bow, "Heavy Metal Music." Set for release Aug. 6, the 11-song album features Newsted on bass and lead vocals. The band is rounded out by guitarist Mike Mushok (Staind), guitarist Jessie Farnsworth and drummer Jesus Mendez Jr.
Newsted said "Metal" has elements fans will recognize from Metallica and Voivod, with whom he also performed.
"It's different than Echobrain and those things," he said about another post-Metallica project. "It really is kind of down the vein of the old-school metal I spent more of my time playing."
That direction was created organically, the culmination of Newsted's experiences.
"I decided to sit down after all this time and do it all myself, write all the songs from top to bottom, all the parts, the guitar, the bass, the drums," Newsted said.
"I gave it to my boys and we made that music. It was all from my instigation. That was the first time I've ever, ever done that all the way like that."
There are four songs on the EP and, he said, the record company executives loved what they heard on the full album.
"It's a pretty big deal," he said. "A bigger deal than I thought it was actually. I'm serious, man. The initiation of this thing was I wrote a song for my wife for our wedding. It was an acoustic song. Twelve-string guitar. I hired a cello player and I built all these tracks as a giant fricking ballad. I called my buddy who has a digital studio and he said, 'You can come down for a couple grand for a week and record anything you want.' In this day and age, it's a pretty good deal."
Newsted recorded the tracks as well as others he had in his pocket.
"We knocked them out in a couple days," Newsted said. "The idea was that we were going to have a CD to jam in the truck. We were going to have our own music. Then one guy heard it, and played it for the next guy and the next guy and about three weeks later, I got Universal and Sony and Geffen and all that at the door. Now we're six months in and I got a world tour on my hands. Here we are. It was kind of a thing where it was intended to be something personal, now it's become a worldwide deal. It's transpired into something that wasn't really planned."
Nor was Newsted ready for the onslaught of attention the project has garnered. That doesn't mean he's unhappy.
"I had shunned or repelled technology for a long, long time," he said. "I just got my first computer back in October or something like that. I had an iPad for a couple months that I wrote all the songs on in a Garage Band application. I didn't have a website or really ever exposed myself to any of that kind of stuff. I've been doing that for a few months realizing how many fans are out there from the original days that actually go to see us play. I had my head spun around by all of the appreciation I had no idea was out there. It's been an eye-opening and wonderful thing."
Newsted is determined not to fall into the same routine as his years with Metallica. He admitted that it's a little tough because he's the face of the project.
"There's so much more demand on me with this outfit," he said. "I'm the singer. I have to do all the interviews. I'm the man. I'm the face. They want the pictures. There's a lot more responsibility.
"I don't know if I'm going to not be tired. I'm a crazy, horrible insomniac and I do get tired out there. That's just the way it is."
He also has to watch his voice. The difference, he said, between Metallica and Newsted is the length of the set. Metallica played for two hours and 15 minutes, while Newsted is playing 45 minutes max on its forthcoming jaunt with "Gigantour" with Megadeth.
"It's not nearly as demanding as what the Metallica thing would be," Newsted said. "Nor is the grind of the month after month after month of stuff that we used to do. Part of the deal we made with the management team was I only go out for a certain number of weeks and I get to be home for a certain number of weeks. They don't push me anymore than that. I did set the parameters before I signed anything.
"I know I'll push and I know I'll be tired, but it's a good kind of tired. When you get the reaction back from the people the satisfaction is going to come from playing my own songs from the people, I'll transcend a lot of that other stuff. You could have a broken leg, but when the metal starts kicking that leg goes away. "
12 - London, England - 100 Club
15 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Refshaleoen (Copenhell)
16 - Derby, England - Donnington Park (Download Festival)
21 - Graz, Austria - Schwarzisee (See Rock Festival)
23 - Clisson, France - Hellfest Grounds
26 - Tokaj, Hungary - Festival Grounds (Hegyalja Festival)
27 - Roltzschjora, Germany - Flugplatz (Full Force Festival)
29 - Helsinki, Finland - Hietaniemi Beach (Rock the Beach)
30 - Dessel, Belgium - Boeretang (Graspop Metal Meeting)
3 - Gilford, NH - Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook (Gigantour)
5 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena (Gigantour)
6 - Canandaigua, NY - Constellation Brands - Marvin Sands PAC (Gigantour)
8 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre (Gigantour)
9 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena (Gigantour)
10 - Youngstown, OH - Covelli Centre (Gigantour)
12 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion (Gigantour)
13 - Lubbock, TX - The Pavilion at Lone Star Event Center (Gigantour)
14 - Corpus Christi, TX - Concrete Street Amphitheater (Gigantour)
16 - Oklahoma City, OK - Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre (Gigantour)
18 - Bloomington, IL - U.S. Cellular Coliseum (Gigantour)
19 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave Eagles Club (Gigantour)
20 - Cadott, WI - Chippewa Valley Festival Grounds (Rock Fest)
22 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - TS Centre (Gigantour)
23 - Regina, Saskatchewan - Brandt Centre (Gigantour)
25 - Calgary, Alberta - Stampede Corral (Gigantour)
26 - Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place (Gigantour)
27 - Dawson Creek, British Columbia - EnCana Event Centre (Gigantour)
29 - Abbotsford, British Columbia - Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (Gigantour)
30 - Everett, WA - Comcast Arena at Everett (Gigantour)
1 - Salt Lake City, UT - Maverik Center (Gigantour)
2 - Broomfield, CO - 1st Bank Center (Gigantour)
4 - Fargo, ND - Scheels Arena (Gigantour)
7 - New York City, NY - TBA (Gigantour)
9 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center (Gigantour)
10 - Montreal, Quebec - Parc Jean Drapeau (Heavy MTL)
11 - Toronto, Ontario - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre (Gigantour)