jason newsted

Jason Newsted

Jason Newsted is known to the general public as the former Metallica bass player. But the musician has been involved in many other projects. For example, for Voivod he was a session player on Phobos; full bass player on three albums; co-producer of the full-length of the same name and producer of Infini. Newsted played with Ozzy Osbourne himself in 2003, but declined further collaborations, wanting to concentrate on this band.

With Flotsam and Jetsam, Jason appears as lyricist on the debut full-length and as bassist on his first two demos, the album “Doomsday for the Deceiver” and the single “Flotzilla”. Newsted has formed his own bands on a number of occasions. But now most of them either perform without him or have ceased to exist altogether. Today, the former Metallica bassist plays in bands Would & Steal and The Chophouse Band.

Music isn’t the only art form Jason creates, he also paints and sculpts.

Jason Newsted was born on March 4, 1963. Jason’s mother is a professional pianist and one of his older brothers plays the trumpet. Since childhood, Jason has been immersed in music. As he tells it himself:

…they (the brothers) had great record collections. Jimmy Hendrix, and Blue Cheer, and MC5, and Ted Nugent, and Nazareth, and Kiss, and a lot of different stuff. I got interested in this music when I was a kid. And Black Sabbath turned my mind upside down.

Jason Newsted
jason newsted with metallica in concert

Jason Newsted’s early career

When Jason was 9 years old, he got a guitar. That same age, the boy started singing songs of his own composition when no one else was around. At the age of fourteen, Newsted picked up the bass. The young man repeatedly threw the instrument, but by chance returned to music.

The turning point was the meeting with guitarist Tom Hamlin. This man became Newsted’s mentor. He invited him to Gangster – Jason’s first project, where the future Metallica bass player honed his skills. Other influences on Newsted are Geezer Butler, Lemmy Kilmister and Rob Grange.

In February 1982, eighteen-year-old Jason Newsted met Dredlox drummer Kelly Smith and joined his band. Later the band changed its name to Flotsam and Jetsam. That period of his career is described by Newsted as follows:

I gave five years to that band. That was my whole life. We released an album on Metal Blade, and now the guys are signed by Elektra. That band was my brainchild. I did the business, half of the music and all the lyrics were written by me. If it wasn’t for Metallica, I would have never left Flotsam and Jetsam. It wasn’t easy to leave because the drummer and I were always together, we went through a lot together. It was hard. At first the members were furious at my announcement, but it’s all good now. They have a new bass player and a major label.

Flotsam and Jetsam have collaborated with Newsted going forward. Jason wrote some songs for the album ‘Ugly Noise’.

Involvement with Metallica

According to Newsted’s own story, he got to audition for Metallica on the recommendation of the record company staff. Lars and James were only planning to sign the bass player for the tour, but eventually he became a full-fledged member. In the 80s, Newsted said that he felt great in the band and that his long-time dream had finally come true.

But the reality was far from rosy. Depressed by the tragic death of Cliff Burton, the band members openly disrespected the new member. The absence of bass on “And justice for all…” is considered the apogee of Newsted’s rejection. Now Jason doesn’t attach great importance to the curiosity. “I don’t think you have to make a big deal out of it. For me, this record is perfect. It’s a detailed reflection of that time and young us,” he says in an interview. But then, way back in 1988, Jason was very disappointed when he first heard the result. He felt as if all the work he’d done had gone to waste.

The debate as to why the bassline on “And justice for all…” had disappeared is still going on. The producer claims that the bass was practically removed from the mix at random. The record’s sound is the result of a rivalry between Lars and Hatfield. While mixing the album, the two competed to see whose instrument would sound louder. They gave the producer commands, and he had to do nothing but obey them.

Despite the producer’s words, some fans believe that the real reason is the dislike of Jason. Such a stance is justified. “You’re here instead of Cliff, so get it!” – that’s how Metallica members reasoned in those years.

Leaving Metallica

It is unlikely that mere mortals will ever discover the whole truth about the bass on “And justice for all…”. But it is known for sure, that Metallica members did not approve of Jason’s side-projects. This was the reason why Newsted left the band: the bassist preferred his own band Echobrain to the world famous band. The project was not destined to be a long-lasting one: after only 5 years the band broke up. The band Newsted suffered the same fate. And it didn’t work out with Newsted’s beloved Voivod.

Hetfield about Newsted. Interview.

In recent interviews Jason confesses he regrets to quit Metallica, and is still waiting for a call from them. However, there is no confrontation with the band’s current bassist, Newsted. He talks about Robert Trujillo as a great guy:

Robert is a great bass player and always has been. I’ve known him for at least 25 years. He’s always been a great guy, I had Infectious Grooves records in my collection and I used to wear their T-shirts. Kudos to him. Came in, hung out with the guys and got in on the music. Way to go, Robert! Way to go!

Personal life of a musician

Jason Newsted has had two marriages. The first one only lasted a year. The second one the former Metallica bass player is still in. No children, but there are dogs. Newsted describes himself as a fierce opponent of social networking. In Jason’s opinion, they give new bands a false sense of the music business and music in general. The bassist believes that bands should think about the quality of their music, not how to squeeze money out of their fans.

Jason newsted 2023

Instruments and equipment

Guitars and basses:

  • 1958 Fender Precision
  • 1981 Spector NS 4-string
  • Zon fretless
  • 1963 Gibson EB-3
  • Gibson EB-6 (six string)
  • 1968 Fender Telecaster Paisley Bass
  • Chandler Metro Baritone
  • 1933 National Dobro
  • Parker Fly guitar
  • Hagstrom 8 string
  • Music Man 4 and 5 String
  • Stuart Spector Designs 4 – 5 – 6 String
  • Hammer 8 and 12 String


  • Mesa/Boogie 1×15 combo
  • Ampeg SVT cabinets
  • 1974 Ampeg SVT head
  • Mesa/Boogie with SWR heads
  • Gibson Skylark Guitar amp
  • Fender Folded Horn 1×18
  • Ampeg SVT III
  • Ampeg SVT Vintage
  • Ampeg SVT 8″x10″ Cabinets
  • Ampeg ISO Vent 10″x15″ Cabinets


  • Boss Flanger
  • MXR Phase 100
  • Mu-Tron
  • Korg G-5 Bass Synth Processor
  • Electro Harmonix Big Muff
  • Alesis Mediverb II
  • BBE Sonic Masimizer
  • Morley Power Wah Boost
  • Wilson “Last Built” Basketball


Whew, that’s the end of the series of articles about the legendary Metallica bassists. At my old website almost three years ago I wrote about Trujillo, two about Burton. Finally it’s Jason’s turn.

Thanks to everyone who read, really looking forward to your opinions in the comments, but guys (and possibly girls too) – it’s a holywarius topic. Let’s not discuss which Metallica bassist was better/worse. They were each good in their own way. Peace!

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1 year ago

Jason always was my favorite. Truly underrated bassist and musician.