During a recent chat with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe, METALLICA‘s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich reveal that they now understand why bassist Jason 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.”