“They did it to get some kind of reaction from Jason”: Metallica producer explains why there’s no bass on …And Justice For All

Metallica in 1990
(Image credit: Niels van Iperen/Getty Images)

Metallica’s former producer has offered his theory on why 1988 album …And Justice For All infamously has no audible bass.

Fleming Rasmussen, who also produced the venerated Ride The Lightning (1984) and Master Of Puppets (1986) albums, has said that the heavy metal titans turned the low end down to haze then-new bassist Jason Newsted.

“I think – but this is purely speculation – I think that they did it to get some kind of reaction from Jason. Because what they hated the most about Jason was that he was a fan,” Rasmussen explained to interviewer Daniel Sarkissian (per Metal Injection).

“He was never disagreeing or anything, or stating his own opinion. I think they were waiting for him to kind of state his place in the band… I think they probably did it to get a reaction, and when it didn’t come, that was the way the album turned out.”

Newsted joined Metallica in late 1986, shortly after the death of his predecessor Cliff Burton aged 24, and was famously hazed by his new bandmates.

“For him [Newsted] and for us, it was difficult,” singer/guitarist James Hetfield said in a 2018 interview.

“Psychology 101 will tell you that all our grief and sadness got directed at him, and quite a bit of it was that he was an easy target. […] He was goofy enough to take it, which was a positive for him, and he was such a fan, and we hated that. We wanted to ‘unfan’ him.”

Newsted quit Metallica in 2001 and was replaced by current bassist Robert Trujillo in 2003. He’d go on to play with Ozzy Osbourne, Voivod and his namesake project Newsted.

Though …And Justice For All is considered a classic Metallica album by many, several unofficial fan remixes with new bass tracks have been put out on sites like Youtube.

Metallica: One (Official Music Video) - YouTube Metallica: One (Official Music Video) - YouTube
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Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.