Jason Newsted: The So What! Interview
The zoom flickers to life, and there he is, Jason Newsted, as ebullient, energetic, and friendly as ever. We drop into chinwagging as though we haven’t caught up for a few days; it’s actually been a few years (we last spoke for the Justice set).
Back in the day - when Jason was giving blood, sweat, and neck vertebrae for the ‘Tallica cause - he was always on-point and focused, whether slamming around the stage in San Diego or doing meet and greets in Madrid. Indeed, I’d say that Jason was always friendly, sometimes intense for sure, but never without a kind word or few for anyone who crossed his path.
On a personal front, Jason was always quick and eager to step up and be interviewed by me, whether for Kerrang! or RIP magazines, and later when it was created, So What! magazine. He also loved to talk about music - all sorts of music. And always managed to make his work appear a pleasure and a privilege, even as the tour months would tick on and his aches would grow.
It is fair to say that The Black Album period was really Jason’s first true Metallica collaboration. I understand if that sounds strange; after all, he gave a hell of a lot to help the Puppets tour conclude. And he dutifully delivered every last ounce he had for both the Justice album and the Damaged Justice tour, making sure his legacy in the band would, indeed, be fulfilled. However, it was The Black Album where Jason finally found creative and sonic congruence with this most unique of chemistries, Bob Rock being a large part of that development. As such, I’d been looking forward to connecting with him about the era.
When I tell you he’d replied to my email within 24 hours and we were speaking a few days later, it should underscore just how much Jason Newsted remains one of the really good guys out there.