Jason Newsted says that he "would like to take some credit" for the "stabilization" of METALLICA after the passing of Cliff Burton .
Burton played on METALLICA 's first three studio albums — "Kill 'Em All" , "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets" — and co-wrote classic songs like "Ride The Lightning" , "For Whom The Bell Tolls" , "Fade To Black" , "Creeping Death" and "Master Of Puppets" . His life was tragically cut short at the age of 24 in a tour bus crash on September 27, 1986 in Sweden.
Burton 's initial replacement in the group was Newsted , who stayed in the lineup until 2001. Robert Trujillo joined in 2003 and remains in the band to this day.
In a brand new interview with the Florida radio station WZZR ( Real Radio 94.3 ), Newsted said that his addition to METALLICA 33 years ago made it possible for the band to scale new heights in its career while the members were grieving for their fallen friend.
"The stabilization of the band I would like to take some credit for," Newsted said (see video below). "Yes, it was hard work; yes, it's not for everyone; but, holy crap, what we were able to accomplish. Because we had the right combination of people at the right time and the right amount of people to go play for in the world. It was all demographics and politics and all those things that got us to where we were.
"The hard work that went into that and the foundation and stability that it created after such a fracturing because of Cliff 's passing… They would have just as soon not done anything else once that happened," Jason continued. "But they didn't, 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]. It's an entity unto itself. So those years that I did it was just stabilizing the whole thing. Fifteen years later, it was stabilization. So that's what I was able to be. I showed up — first one in, last one out. I always went with that kind of mentality. That's why it got to where it got. That's how heavy metal of that sharp tooth was able to get on the radio.
"We spearheaded that thing," he added. "There was bands before us. If there wasn't AC/DC and there wasn't IRON MAIDEN , we would not have been able to tour the way we did; we would not have been able to accomplish what we did in these nooks and crannies of the universe. But the thing is that those guys kept flying the flag. They're 36 years in and they can still sell any stadium in any country — with music that goes [ roars aggressively ]. You can understand that Whitney Houston can do it, or UB40 , or somebody that's so worldly in that way, or a Bob Marley type of vibe. Black people, green people, purple people, all people that speak all languages across the universe still come and learn their English from our songs."
According to Newsted , his decision to leave METALLICA more than 18 years ago "enabled" his bandmates "to continue. "They would not be doing what they're doing now if I hadn't made that move then and I knew what was best for everybody at the time," he explained. "Whether I was prophetic and saw these things ahead of time, that I knew the inner rumblings, what would take place and what would unfold… I knew about people's issues and stuff," Newsted said, referring to the fact that his exit was followed by the three most turbulent years of METALLICA 's long career, during which they battled through addiction, fan backlash, personal turmoil and the near-disintegration of the group while making of the "St. Anger" album. "'We've gotta step away for a second, you guys, to make sure everybody can…' 'No. We don't wanna step away. We wanna go and rock.' So I chose to step away and they chose to keep going. But then they dove down for a couple of years and didn't do anything because of it. So if they would have just listened to what I said, we would have taken the time off together that I wanted to take off, we could have came back and did that thing. But that's not what was meant to be. And now, what happened, physically, shoulders, all these other things, I couldn't be in their band the way that I want to be," apparently alluding to the fact that his physical ailments over the last two decades would have prevented him from being able to tour for extensive periods of time.
Although Newsted says that he will "always be a member of METALLICA ," his former bandmates are the ones who are "gonna do the work — they're gonna go out there and do their thing, and I'm just gonna fly the flag and always be proud of them," he said.
Five years ago, the now-56-year-old Newsted canceled an appearance at Australia's Soundwave festival with his band NEWSTED , citing "private and personal circumstances." The cancelation followed more than a year of intense touring and promotional activity surrounding the release of NEWSTED 's "Metal" EP and follow-up album, "Heavy Metal Music" , both of which were positively received by the critics and fans alike.
After staying mostly out of the public eye for a couple of years, Newsted rejoined Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD on stage during June 2016 concert at Slim's in San Francisco, California. He has since formed a couple of new acoustic projects, one of which completed a short West Coast tour.
Jason was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame , along with METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield , drummer Lars Ulrich , guitarist Kirk Hammett , and the man who replaced him, Robert Trujillo , in 2009.