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Metallica therapist Phil Towle says that Jason Newsted “didn’t want to leave” the band

Metallica
(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

Metallica’s former therapist has revealed that he doesn’t think ex-bassist Jason Newsted wanted to leave the band.

Speaking to the ...And Podcast For All! podcast, Phil Towle suggested that the bassist‘s departure in 2001 may have been the result of Newsted’s attempts to change the way his bandmates viewed his position in Metallica.

Towle, who worked with the band during the making of St Anger and appeared in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster, suggested that Newsted had become a “whipping boy” after replacing orignal bassist Cliff Burton, but rather than iron out the issues, they had been left to fester – and that the St Anger period marked the flashpoint.

“He was the way that they grieved unhealthily,” said Towle. “And Jason, because he was so… grateful to be a part of the band, never felt like he could quite make it. He was hazed to the point where I think it blew because he'd had enough of something. And when we've had enough of something, then it's hard to go to somebody and say, 'Can we sit down and talk about this?'“

Asked if he thought the bassist’s decision was an attempt to “shock”  his bandmates, Towle replied that he though Newsted wanted to “leave the reality of what existed.”

"I don't think he wanted to leave the band. I think he wanted to leave the reality of what existed. And this was the only way he could start to do something with it. And that triggered a whole bunch of things. That contributed to ultimately James (Hetfield, Metallica frontman), months later, going into rehab.”

Speaking in 2003, Lars Ulrich told Classic Rock that Newsted had to be “sacrificed” in order for the band to survive.

"Jason was caught in no man’s land,” said the drummer. “So in a way he sacrificed himself – or had to be sacrificed – in order for us to be able to move to the place we’re at now. So it’s ironic, and really sad. For me, it’s amazing that it lasted for 14 years, that Jason stuck it out for that long.”