Jason Newsted Clarifies Remarks About Lacking ‘Physicality’ to Play Metallica Songs
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted has clarified previous comments he made about lacking the "physicality" to play how he would like to in regards to material written and released with his former bands, having singled out Metallica and Voivod in particular.
Newsted, once known for his overtly physical onstage performances, has gone easier on his body in recent years with his Chophouse Band, focusing his time on music that is less aggressive than thrash and prog metal.
He did note in a new interview on the 'Talk Toomey' podcast that the context of his earlier comments were misconstrued and that what he meant was that he does not have the physical capability to fully commit to proper tours where we would have to play his old material onstage for over two hours a night, also limited by shoulder surgeries over the years.
"This thing came out of a Florida interview — I think it was an art exhibit interview, actually — and there was something about my shoulder surgeries, and I say, 'I can't play Metallica songs anymore,' and all this stuff. And people started running with this thing. Are you sure that you listened to what I said? Are you sure that you heard the words that I said? Somebody just ran with this part and they made up this big goddamn thing," the bassist began (transcription via Blabbermouth).
Newsted then clarified, "I want everybody to realize that whoever asked me to come and play bass, and if it was for real, then I would be there to play bass. And if it was Metallica that asked me to play for that many songs or that fast or that slow or whatever, then I would go and do it. There's not a thing where I can't do that. I was saying that I'm probably not going to go on tour and do two-and-a-half hours every night with a band anymore. That's not something I'm probably going to do."
"It's not that I can't do it," he reaffirmed.
Newsted's previous comments, made to the Florida Daily Post in early 2020, resurfaced amid the 30th anniversary re-release of Metallica's game-changing self-titled 1991 album, better known as 'The Black Album.' In that interview, he stated, "I know for a fact I cannot play the way that I would want to play in Voivod, Metallica, any of those bands. I don't have the physicality to do that anymore. I only do six shows a year [with the Chophouse Band], and I do them right."
"The surgeries kind of set me back. I kept playing music the best that I could, and I haven't ever been able to come all the way back. I'm like 90-something-percent full. I can't play the full Metallica stuff — I couldn't do the show anymore like that," he also said in 2020.
In the 'Talk Toomey' interview, Newsted also commented on the fan speculation that he would be joining Megadeth as their new bassist following Daivd Ellefson's ouster in the wake of a controversial and sexually explicit video leak.
He called it "interesting" when reflecting on fan-driven demand for him to join the ranks of another thrash giant, but ultimately felt that this was not the right time in his life to seize such an opportunity.
"I don't know if I would ever do something like that. It's just not in my purview anymore. I'm so busy with other music and I play all the time with other kinds of people. I like playing the heavy stuff every now and again, but I really enjoy the composition now — different instruments and dimensions to the songs, and three or four voices going, female background vocal and cool shit. It's way more what I'm after now," Newsted relayed.
Watch the full interview below.