Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted says that despite leaving the band over 15 years ago, he still has a great relationship with his former band mates, including bassist Robert Trujillo, who replaced him.
Newsted told Real Radio 94.3 WZZR of West Palm Beach, Florida, that of all his accomplishments in Metallica, the one takes most pride in is bringing about an era of "stabilization" for one of rock and metal's greatest all-time bands.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer noted that he helped Metallica find its footing, both after he joined in 1986 and after he left in 2001.
"The hard work that went into that and the foundation and stability that it created after such a fracturing because Cliff [Burton's] passing... They would have just as soon not done anything else once that happened," Newsted said. "But they didn't [give up], and they kept going, and I had to come in and be that propulsion, be the new engine that helped this fractured being, 'cause it's a thing that's bigger than all of [us]."
Newsted's era in Metallica was also the band's most commercially successful period, when The Black Album vaulted the band to a new status as one of the biggest live concert draws in the world.
He added that his exit from the band in 2001 "enabled" Metallica to re-center. While Metallica didn't want to take the hiatus Newsted wanted at the time, without a bass player the band had no choice but to take the next two years off.
Newsted suggested the time off motivated front man James Hetfield to go to rehab the first time and address his alcoholism and other issues.
Since moving on from Metallica, the bassist has shown little interest in recreating his former touring schedule. He's cited various injuries as the reason he's performed only sparingly over the past few years.
Newsted concluded by noting that emotionally he will "always be a member of Metallica." Physically, he's fine letting his former band mates "do the work." They have his support, he says.
"[T]hey're gonna go out there and do their thing, and I'm just gonna fly the flag and always be proud of them."
Metallica is counting down a major announcement today (Thursday, October 10) at 3 PM Eastern time.
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