JASON NEWSTED Recalls Getting Blessing From CLIFF BURTON’s Mother When He Joined METALLICA

Jason Newsted 2017

In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Jason Newsted recalled auditioning for the role of bass player in METALLICA following the tragic passing of Cliff Burton on September27, 1986.

“It was the third day that I played with the boys, I think I stayed overnight in San Francisco for the first time,” he recalled. “That third night, they had the elders come in for their blessing. So Torben Ulrich, the Burtons, a couple of the crew guys, people that had been there from the get-go. We got through about six tunes: ‘Master,’ ‘Fade to Black,’ ‘Bell Tolls,’ the masterpieces!”

Newsted continued: “So I am just composing myself for a second, putting my bass down, turning off Cliff’s amp — I’m playing f*cking Cliff’s amp dude! Jan [Burton, Cliff’s mother] comes walking in the room by herself, and she grabs me, and gets my attention. She says, ‘Great job, son’ and I’m like, ‘Oh f*ck!’ She embraced me, and it seemed like it was quite a while, and she said, ‘You’re the one, you must be the one. Please be safe, we love you,’ and she gave me a kiss. That was 35 years ago, and I’ll never, ever forget it.”

Newsted left METALLICA in January, 2001.

During a recent chat with Apple Music‘s Zane LoweMETALLICA‘s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich revealed that they now understand why Newsted left the band in 2001, though there were some hard feelings at the time.

“My theory now is I could love anybody really at the end of the day,” Hetfield says. “You get to know them, you get to know where they’ve come from, you understand where their parents came from, all of that. How are you, you? I can accept that. I can really accept that. There was more to be revealed. I mean, really. He was at a point where he was at and we were at a point where we were at. It happened because it happened. If it was like that right now, say, Robert [Trujillo] comes and says, ‘Hey, I’m done here.’ We would fight. We would fight, or I would fight for him. I didn’t know about the fight back then.”

Lars continues: “If you think about it, Jason is the only member of METALLICA who has ever left willingly. And that in itself is a statistic. And the resentment from James and I was just so… You can’t do that. You can only leave if we want you to leave. And then we weren’t equipped at the time to do a deep dive into why he was leaving. So of course, now you can see 20 years later, it makes complete sense.”

“We write the songs. We make the decisions. We do all of it. You have no creative outlet in this band. You have no creative voice. Then when you go and do something that gives you satisfaction in a way for you to express yourself to the rest of the world, then we get pissed at you. Then that resentment then goes to you leaving the band. I mean, that’s kind of psychiatry 101 here. But we weren’t equipped to see that side of it. Twenty years later, now it makes complete sense.”

Jason gave 14 years, every day, every performance. He was there always,” Lars added. “I mean, we always used to joke. It’s like, ‘He’s so fired up. Come on, dude. Slow down.’ He was the first guy and the last guy out. He was signing autographs when we were driving by waving on the way out of the buildings. I mean, he really was. I, now have finally equipped to appreciate every moment that he gave. And we have, I think so much respect for each other now, so much appreciation.

“Ten years ago when we did the 30th anniversaries, when he came up and played four nights with us at the Fillmore shows, played two nights with us, seeing Rob and him together up there. That felt like it was the beginning of the thawing of where we are now, but he’s been very integral part of the reissue and the rerelease and has done interviews and been very, very helpful. He did the unboxing of the box for the cameras and the whole thing. And I mean, he’s been so gracious.”