Jason Newsted Reveals Events That Led to His Shutting Down Self-Titled Band
After a quiet few years for Jason Newsted, the former Metallica bassist came roaring back in late 2012 with a self-titled band and over the next two years seemingly found his footing with the Newsted group. But surprisingly, after the run, the band shut down and Newsted stayed mostly out of the spotlight until resurfacing earlier this year. Speaking with Eddie Trunk Live (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), Newsted has opened up about his chain of events that led to the band's dormant status.
Newsted reveals that he was actually quite happy with the experience of forming the band, recording their debut album and the extensive touring they did on their first release, but as they got ready for their second album, a number of factors came into play that made it more difficult for them to continue.
The first was their managerial situation. "The manager that had taken us on to take the Newsted band around the world, help us get all those gigs and everything, he had gotten on the ground floor with a band called Florida Georgia Line, who became gigantic in the country music world — beyond gigantic; like Grammys and holy business. I think they actually beat Elvis Presley's record for a single being on the charts for the longest of all time. So things like this. He came to us honestly and said, 'I'm not gonna be able to be in your corner anymore, because I have to go with these guys and do this. You understand?' I said, 'Yes, I understand.' So that came into play — a little bit of a wobbly situation there in the handling.
He also points to an encounter with Soundwave Festival promoter AJ Maddah as a factor. He told Trunk about meeting Maddah at Donington and the promoter showing interest in his band and expressing how as a younger man, Newsted had given him some advice that helped guide him toward his career as a promoter. At the end of the conversation, Maddah asked Newsted to come play Soundwave and spoke of having them play the Main Stage, with Newsted thinking the deal was solid.
"So as the shows grew closer in February, all the logistics from their side started going quite haywire, and the promise, or the word, of a handshake, of him saying [we would get to play] the main stage and all these different things, that was changing rapidly, and I couldn't get straight answers from across the world," recalled Newsted. "So getting those answers from that place a day and a half behind or ahead, all this communication became pretty much a headache. And I could not get any real answers of where I was gonna take my boys, when I was gonna take them, and who I was gonna be playing with and what time and on what stage. And I've been in this for long enough that I'm not gonna do that." Newsted says that upon deciding to pull out, he had to forfeit some of his own money and came out of the experience disheartened.
The final factor during this same period he was dealing with the festival woes and manager transition was his mother getting sick. She eventually passed away in March of this year. But with so much going on dividing his attention, he decided to put Newsted on the backburner, and also dropped off social media, which had been a big factor in helping to launch the band.
"I was not interested in letting anybody know about anything. It was nobody's business, really, about any kind of social media things or what was going on within my people or any of that, and so I just didn't really wanna bother with any of that until I had the energy and presence of mind to be able to talk to you today about it and let people know that I always appreciated their encouragement and their positive vibrations they sent to me," explained Newsted about his decision to go media dark in 2014. "People just have to understand that when these type of things come in your life that you really do get some heavy, heavy perspective. And so that's what changed for me."
As for his return this year with a more acoustic-based project with the Chophouse Band, Newsted revealed that playing for his mother during her illness kind of brought him back around to music again. "What transpired was I had to keep playing, and she knows I had to keep playing. So I picked up the acoustic and started doing what I was able to do when I was just hanging around her, and started learning my cowboy chords and started collecting my songs," states Newsted. "So I would play certain songs for her, kind of choking through 'em — a bass player playing heavy handed on the acoustic guitar and just banging these cowboy chords out and learning Johnny Cash and Neil Young and George Jones and some more popular things like that. And by now, a couple of years later, I've dug in a lot deeper than that, but it was originally inspired by that thing, where I'd play mom songs."
See Where Jason Newsted Ranks Among the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Bassists of All Time
Jason Newsted Reflects on Metallica's '...And Justice for All'