Jason Newsted Shares Why Metallica Got The Russia Gig Instead Of Guns N’ Roses

Metallica’s ex-bassist Jason Newsted recently reminisced when the band got the unexpected Russia gig and talked about how big the show was. He also mentioned why Metallica, Pantera, and The Black Crowes got to perform, but Guns N’ Roses didn’t despite the crowd’s wishes.

Russia went through a historical coup attempt in 1991 by the communists to take over the country’s control from the Mikhail Gorbachev government. There were big complications in the streets but, the people, especially the youth, stood up for the government, and the attempt failed.

Gorbachev later wanted to reward the youth for ‘saving the country’ and asked them what they wanted, and the youth replied, ‘We want Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.’ Hence, the preparations for the Monsters of Rock show began. Metallica was luckily close to Russia as they were supporting AC/DC on tour. Pantera and The Black Crowes were also in their reach, but that wasn’t the case for Guns N’ Roses.

Jason Newsted talked about how the events that led them to perform to 1.6 million rock fans unfolded. He stated that while it was convenient for some of the bands to make it there despite the coup, the whereabouts of Guns N’ Roses were unknown. Even though they wanted GN’R, along with Metallica, they could only get Metallica and some other bands that weren’t on the list of the youth.

Newsted explained the situation saying:

“It was such a gigantic thing, mostly, we made to feel so special. It was convenient in a way, I think, for the powers that be that we’re planning and getting it organized with the government, that we were out supporting AC/DC in the eastern block when this idea came up. Something that was trying to be remedied with f*cking heavy American rock music. This gigantic f*cking governmental historic thing is going to go down in history, but forever and ever world history, we were called to come and save the day.

Metallica and AC/DC were out together already. It was convenient for the time to say, ‘Well the kids wanted Guns N Roses and Metallica.’ Those are the first names that came out of their mouths. The leader of the kids stood up, and the Prime Minister says, ‘How can we repay you? How can we reward you for what you’ve done?’ ‘We want Metallica, and we want Guns N’ Roses.’ Well, Guns N’ Roses is wherever the hell they are, and AC/DC and Metallica are right over the border over there. So, Black Crowes are over there and Pantera is in Texas.”

The gig was huge, and the preparations were also not to be underestimated. Newstead had also spoken about the Monsters of Rock in an interview in September 2021. In that interview, he had expressed how amazed he was for traveling with AC/DC in a private plane which presented a lot of luxury he had never seen before. It seems like this experience will stick with the bands and the bassist for more years to come.

You can watch the interview below.