Watch Jason Newsted talk about being bullied by Metallica in this rare 1986 video interview with the baby-faced metalheads

Jason Newsted and Lars Ulrich
(Image credit: YouTube)

While it's common knowledge that Jason Newsted wasn't treated with the utmost respect during his 14 year tenure with Metallica, the bassist never made a big issue of the sometimes cruel behaviour that he endured during an extended 'hazing' period after joining the Californian metal band in 1986.

Newsted, of course, joined Metallica in the wake of Cliff Burton's death in a harrowing bus accident as the quartet toured Master Of Puppets in Europe, a tragedy which left his friends, then in their early 20s, in a state of confusion and grief over their unexpected loss. When their new bass player was recruited, he was automatically pigeonholed as the "new kid on the block", and soon became a target for abuse that ran the gamut from light-hearted and juvenile through to humiliating and cruel.

Towards the latter end of 1986, after bedding in their new bassist on a short tour of Japan, a baby-faced Metallica discussed their new recruit in a light-hearted interview, during which the quartet also converse about their fashion choices (with a particular heavy focus on socks), and life following the aforementioned incident, including how Newsted is fitting into his new role.

After watching the dynamics of the relationship between Newsted and drummer Lars Ulrich unfold during the discussion, the interviewer says: "I'm nervously watching you guys; there's like a sense of abuse from Lars. Do they treat you like that because you're the new kid on the block?".

In response, Newsted declares, "There's a sense of abuse from everyone. It's everybody, it's not just the band guys, either".

A laughing Lars interrupts and says: "You can't expect to walk into this situation and not get a little flak once in a while".

Elaborating on the treatment he received, the bass player continues, "So the crew, production, people, everybody, are always just winding me up, but I've come to expect it and learned to kind of deal with it's cool. It's not like a big deal, the big deal is like when I give them a hard time back they can't deal with it."

He adds, "No seriously though, you know like I'm supposed to be able to take it, and then when I give it back to them, they're like...", before finishing his sentence with a crying baby noise. 

"Well I'm expecting it, it's getting better, at first it was really harsh but now it's alright."

Elsewhere, Newsted reveals his reaction to finding out he was picked as the band's new bass player. Recalling the moment, he explains: "We were in this little restaurant on a call-back day, from you know the second audition or whatever. We went into this little food joint [Tommy's Joynt] and my final test was to, like, go out drinking with the boys, and Lars asked me if I wanted the job. I stood up on the table and screamed.

"So anyway, that was it you know, they asked me and I freaked, and it was a dream come true. I looked up to these guys for a long time and it was really kind of unbelievable." 

You can watch the full interview, a fascinating snapshot of Metallica as they balanced their grief with obvious excitement about their ever-growing success, below: this priceless footage was uploaded and shared by YouTuber FabianEXP84.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.