In January 2001, bassist Jason Newsted left Metallica. Since that time, reasons given to his departure has ranged from hazing to conflict of Newsted wanting to engage in side projects, specifically Echobrain. Now, in a new interview with ScuzzTV, Newsted has given more insight into his split with Metallica. You can watch the interview above as well as read the transcript below:
“I’ve never told this story, I’m not sure if I should tell it now, actually. There was a lot leading up to it through time … The very upside-down thing that I don’t think anybody knows; the management of Metallica was very, very excited about Echobrain [one of Newsted’s side projects], wanted to take it out for me, wanted me to do Echobrain also, with Metallica. They felt Echobrain was that good, the singer was that good, and it didn’t affect Metallica because it was a totally different kind of thing, and I was in Metallica; that would give it it’s pedigree already.”
“And so they had told me, pretty convincingly, ‘This is a great record, we’ve been playing it around the office, that’s all I’ve been hearing, it’s fantastic, this kid has a great voice. Let’s do something with this.’ That’s what they told me, and then James [Hetfield] heard about it and was not happy. He was, I think, pretty much out to put the kibosh on the whole thing because it would somehow affect Metallica in his eyes, because now the managers were interested in something I was doing that had nothing to do with him.”
“I have no idea what [Hetfield] was thinking, other than just protecting what he valued, just like he does; that’s his thing. He protects what he loves, squeezes it too hard, like he said himself. Squeeze it too hard, protecting it too much. That’s where I was coming from. The people that I had counted on for 15 years to help me with my career, help Metallica, take care of my money, do all of those things, told me, ‘Your new project is fantastic, we’d like to help you with it.’ James heard about it, the manager calls me back a couple of days later — ‘Sorry we’re not going to be able to help you with that Echobrain thing.’”
In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t so much of a reveal but more of an elaboration of sorts. Newsted has previously stated that wanting to pursue other projects didn’t sit well with James Hetfield. Hell, Echobrain even appears in the Some Kind of Monster documentary. It seems a bit random to be talking about this now, but at least it doesn’t seem like Newsted is trying to pull a Dave Mustaine by trying to start a war of words for no reason.