Jason Newsted Recounts Leaving Metallica
The bassist joined the band in 1986 soon after the death of Cliff Burton. His departure was announced in February 2001, but he'd called a meeting the previous month at which he explained why he thought they needed a year away. When James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett refused, he knew he had to go.
Speaking on Nikki Sixx's radio show Newsted says: "One of the most important things in life – but especially when we do this kind of accelerated lifestyle – is when to say when."
"It was like, 'Keep rockin', guys – you're making the world go round for however many thousand people that get paid by what you're doing.'," he said. "When it came to it, 12 years ago tomorrow, I was addicted to painkillers, my neck was jacked, James was considerably drunk. They were having their first divorces, first children. Big stuff going on in their lives.
"I called the meeting. I said, 'Dudes, look at us. My suggestion is: one year off, everybody recalibrate, get back to this and let's go crush it again.' That's what I said. Those words."
Newsted says he "blew himself out" when it took his bandmates less than 25 minutes to reject the idea. "Management comes in, 'MTV, next thing, make us money,' and I'm a puddle on the floor. I'm like, 'There's my answer.'" more on this story
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