Jason Newsted: Life Beyond Metallica

Since his exit from Metallica in early 2001, bassist Jason Newsted has toured and recorded with Voivod, and also worked on a number of projects released through his Chophouse site and label. This includes the Heard Of Elements.

How did Heard Of Elements come together?

I’m constantly seeking out people from different musical worlds to throw together in the Chophouse. I don’t pretend to know jazz, they don’t pretend to know metal. On this project was Roy Rogers on slide guitar, and a drummer named Carl Coletti who the most recording he’s done is with Ottmar Liebert, the flamenco guitarist. He’s got this Latin vibe, but he can hit real hard punk music too. The drummer has that kind of flavour, Roy has his flavour and I’ve got my metal thing. We threw all the ideas together and made our musical soup.

Carl and I have done many projects together – with Andreas [Kisser] from Sepultura, with Devin Townsend. We’ve been recording together about 10 or 12 years. A lot of our projects are punky, but this one is considered more complex.

How would you describe the group’s material?

I didn’t really know what to predict. It’s best described I think as California summer time music. That’s what it ended up sounding like to me, once the mixing was happening, production was happening, people were putting on their parts.

When will the new Voivod album be out?

Voivod has just signed a new contract. We can get it going in Montreal in the next couple of months, and we’ll probably turn it around at the beginning of the year. I can’t promise anything, but that’s a rough guess.

How will it sound?

Just another step forward. You can tell it’s Voivod within three seconds. Some of it’s full-on metal – Venom/Mötorhead drumming – then there’s some very psychedelic stuff. It’s what you would expect from Voivod.(Titled Katorz, this album was released in 2006)

What did you think of your old band Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster movie?

Well, I’ll answer you as a ‘fan of Metallica’, because if I look at it from the inside there’s too much personal shit that nobody really gives a crap about. It’s not something that we expected from them. When you have a band like that, the biggest metal band that there’s been this last couple of generations or whatever. There’s some stuff that’s meant to be sacred, in the inner circle. And they exposed the inner circle. I don’t agree with that as a fan. I thought they could have done a lot more if they would have shown the things that people wanted to see, at least a little bit. Not just the whole thing about psychiatry sessions, but at least show us three songs of you guys playing live. Give us what we want, please. Show us that you’re still the powerful monster that we have come to appreciate. I would have liked to see that.

Jason Newsted recalls making Metallica's Black Album

Greg Prato

Contributing writer at Classic Rock magazine since 2004. He has written for other outlets over the years, and has interviewed some of his favourite rock artists: Black Sabbath, Rush, Kiss, The Police, Devo, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Soundgarden, Meat Puppets, Blind Melon, Primus, King’s X… heck, even William Shatner! He is also the author of quite a few books, including Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder And An Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon And Blind Melon, and MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video, among others.