Devin Townshend Recalls How His Project With Jason Newsted Failed Due To Metallica

Devin Townshend didn’t have a clue that collaborating with Jason Newsted would encourage the bassist to leave Metallica. As it turns out, it was Metallica who stood in their way. In a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, Townshend looked back on those times and revealed how Metallica played a significant role in their failed project.

Back in the day, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich weren’t cool with seeing their bandmates work on side projects. However, Jason Newsted wanted to pursue other endeavors when he was still the bassist of Metallica. He got together with Devin Townshend in 1994 to form IR8 and record new material, which caused him to leave Metallica due to conflicts with his bandmates.

“I love Jason,” said Devin Townshend when Ultimate Guitar asked him about working with Jason Newsted on a project which eventually failed. “He was a kind guy to me. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were very different. And I think that, at that point, we ran out of things we needed to say together. But when we met at a crossroads in our life, we were the right people for each other for a couple of years there.”

Townshend continued, “It was nice; he was a very kind guy. He was a sweetheart. But he was going through all that rockstar sh*t, too, with Metallica. There was an era where that existed, and I struggled with it because it seemed like a weird, psychological affliction to have that level of success. That success ostracizes you to the point where all that stuff determines your personality.”

“I don’t wish that level of success on anybody,” added Townshend, reflecting on the negative aspect of success in the metal music scene. “And the people that I’ve known that have had that level of success all sort of share a similar group of personality traits that, I think, make it difficult to be friends, like really close friends.”

So, Devin Townshend liked working with Jason Newsted at the beginning, but Newsted’s commitments to Metallica got in their way. The band strongly believed Jason’s interest in side projects might affect Metallica’s strength. In the end, the pair’s demos were released in 2002, when the bassist decided to publish the ‘IR8 vs. Sexoturica’ compilation.