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Jason Newsted Looks Back on Metallica in New Interview

Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

Jason Newsted has been out of Metallica for over a decade, but he’ll probably never stop fielding interview questions about his time in the band — and now that he’s out promoting new music, he’s answering more of them than ever. Fortunately, as he proved during a recent appearance on the Classic Metal Show (via Bravewords), he’s perfectly willing to discuss his years in the trenches with the metal legends.

Even though he was in the band for nearly 25 years, Newsted’s tenure with Metallica will always be compared with the band’s earliest recordings with original bassist Cliff Burton — something Newsted openly acknowledged during the interview by saying, “I’m one of those that only likes the first three albums and doesn’t like the band as much after Cliff died. I’m on that camp.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Newsted disavows the music he made with Metallica. “I’m proud of the records that I made with those guys, and they’re cool for what they are. That’s not my main concern,” he explained. “We know that one man’s fate is another man’s destiny. Cliff’s fate was my destiny. That’s just the way it worked out. It’s sad that people are so small minded about not just appreciating other history.”

Despite the acrimony that helped fuel his departure from the band, Newsted has always remained publicly magnanimous about it all, and that didn’t change during this chat. “I rescued them and they rescued me when I joined,” he argued. “When I left, I rescued them again and they rescued me again. I was addicted to painkillers. James was drunk as hell. It was all a mess with divorces and having first babies and all kinds of crazy, ugly things that brought on our separation…our divorce, as it were.”

Still, in spite of his gratitude for the years he spent with Metallica, there are still things about the way it all ended that remain “touchy” for him to discuss — like the way his departure was portrayed in the documentary ‘Some Kind of Monster.’ “I’ve always tried to maintain the high road in this whole thing, and I will still,” Newsted insisted, but admitted that “It really isn’t necessary for people to know that kind of stuff. The disrespect they showed to me in those things, that’s so long ago. Yeah, it got under my skin a little when I first saw it. I was like, ‘Why are you guys doing that? I don’t understand what I’ve done to get that thing.'”

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