"My forte, my strength in Metallica, was the live show. That is all that mattered to me, everything else came second." Jason Newsted on what made him such a vital part of Metallica during his time with the band

Jason Newsted on stage with Metallica in the 90s
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty Images)

Jason Newsted has discussed the unique energy he brought to Metallica when it came to their famously electric live shows during his stint as the band's bassist in the late 80s and through the 90s. Speaking to official Metallica podcast The Metallica Report, Newsted - who joined the band in 1986 following the devastating death of Cliff Burton - explains that when it came to putting on a show, he refused to do things half-heartedly.

"My forte, my strength in Metallica in my time, was the live show," he says. "That is all that mattered to me, everything else came second. So whatever I could do to go all the way and leave every fucking ounce on the stage, that was part of the programme for that particular stage set. Any time that I had to do anything extra, that's what I could give, that's where I felt the most confident, that's where I got the most pats on the back from the guys, is when I was doing my live thing, sweating my nuts off, background vocals, spinning fucking windmills. All that shit.

"If you look back, I don't spend a lot of time looking back, but every once in a while, somebody will send me a video of this, 'Jason, how's you head?', or these kinda things. 'Doesn't your neck hurt?' 'You got headaches?'...I look at the footage and I'm like, 'What the fuck?!' If you count the actual times that I spun that shit, or that I...I never fucking stopped! You got two hours and twenty minutes, and there had to be tens of thousands of gestures of me pushing my vertebrae out, per night! Thousands and thousands! 

"You look back, like, 'Dude, what the fuck,'" he continues. "No wonder your shoulder is [screwed], no wonder your fucking C6 is all jolting off the back of your back. Now these days it's a little better, but goddamn occupational hazards and all that kind of thing. That's what I could give, bro. That's what I could give so people remembered and came back the next time."

Newsted would eventually depart Metallica in 2001, though he has made occasional appearances with them since, most notably at their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009 and at their legendary 30th anniversary shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco in 2011. His eventual replacement, Rob Trujillo, officially became Metallica's longest-serving bassist in 2017.

Listen to Newsted's interview on The Metallica Report below.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.