Over 30 years later, the inaudible bass on Metallica‘s 1988 album …And Justice for All remains one of the most puzzling studio decisions in metal history. Understandably, Jason Newsted was among those most confused.
Newsted joined Metallica in 1986 after the death of bassist Cliff Burton. Justice was the first ‘Tallica album that he played on, and was quite angry when his parts were turned down to near-silent levels on the final mix.
“I was f***ing livid!,” Newsted tells Metal Hammer. “Are you kidding me? I was ready [to go] for throats, man!”
“No, I was out of my head, because I really thought I did well,” he adds. “And I thought I played how I was supposed to play.”
Being Newsted was joining in place of a beloved member who’d just died, some have hypothesized that Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield purposely turned down his bass out of misplaced anger towards him. However, Ulrich has said the decision was not intentional, and that Newsted getting buried in the mix was a result of turning everything else up, and not specifically turning him down.
Newsted left Metallica in 2001 under somewhat acrimonious circumstances — as detailed in the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster — but seems to be back on good terms with the band. Earlier this month, he starred in an unboxing video for Metallica’s upcoming Black Album 30th anniversary reissue, due out September 10.
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