Kirk Hammett’s Regret About Jason Newsted

One of the most innovative bands globally, Metallica has come a long way since they first formed in 1981. Over time, their aggressive sound made them one of the big four thrash metal bands, and they became a leading figure in the thrash metal scene, guiding it to success and giving the genre a commercial and mainstream value. Their contribution wasn’t only for the metal scene but across all genres.

However, aside from their musical success, the band went through many difficulties regarding their personal lives and dynamics within the band. James Hetfield suffered from addiction, which occasionally prevented him from performing with the band. Perhaps, the most tragic incident occurred when their bassist Cliff Burton died tragically at the band’s peak years, leaving Metallica with an empty spot.

What Happened After Cliff Burton Died?

Cliff Burton was Metallica’s beloved bassist, and the band members were devastated when he passed away in a crash on the tour bus. His death put the band members in long-time running grief, and they were lost. After facing the horrible accident, the band realized that they had to decide either to go on their separate ways or to hire a replacement.

Thinking that the bassist would want them to continue, the band hired Jason Newsted and continued with their legacy. However, the band members’ ongoing sorrow affected Newsted’s position in the group. They kept making the musician a scapegoat in each discussion, making it hard for him to stay in the band. Despite that, he stuck with them for twelve years and contributed to their albums, including the iconic ‘Black Album.’

The bassist quit in 2001 after revealing that he had received psychical damage working with the band. Also, he wanted to work on other projects. Knowing that Metallica does not allow that, he had to leave. The band hasn’t been very nice to Newsted for twelve years, making him feel like an outsider.

Kirk Hammett Made A Confession About Metallica’s Attitude

Kirk Hammett talked about Newsted in 2020 and revealed his regret for treating Newsted the way he didn’t deserve. At most inconveniences, the band showed an attitude that reflected toward him, which was not fair to the bassist. Even though Hammet regretted the way they treated Newsted, they were still suffering from grief for losing their beloved Cliff Burton.

Hammett’s confession about his regret follows:

“But there were two weeks after Cliff’s death where it was just like a yo-yo, but Jan Burton, Cliff’s mom, was there, and she was around us a lot, as was Cliff’s dad Ray Burton. And they kept on insisting, insisting, insisting that we go on. And we’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah…’ But it didn’t truly sink in until maybe about three weeks or so, and we were looking at each other going, ‘Well, what’s going to happen now? We have to keep going. We have to continue. Cliff would have wanted us to continue.

And as a tribute to Cliff’s memory, it was important for us to go on. And so those first two weeks, it was up and down. We had no idea what was going on. I was, ‘What am I gonna do?’ I was thinking of guitar lessons, the old standby for musicians who can’t find any gigs or a band, you get guitar lessons. The old standby, that’s what I was actually thinking.”

He continued:

“But it was the insistence of Ray and Jan Burton that I think really just pushed us into the decision to keep ongoing. And then, when Jason came into the band, it was only like four or five weeks after the accident. I mean, we were still grieving. And we were all pretty young too, we’re in our mid-20s, and we didn’t really have, or at least I didn’t have, a lot of experience with grieving, and knowing how to deal with that, and knowing how to heal, and how to move on.

I hate to say it, but Jason became the scapegoat for all those feelings that we did not know how to process. And to this day, I regret behaving like that and then taking that attitude, but you didn’t know better. As far as the grieving period is concerned, I think we’re all still grieving because I get emotional when I think about Cliff, and when we’re together, I think about Cliff a lot. I know James and I get really, really emotional. I would say for me; there’s still some grief after all these years. After all these years, I can still feel that pain.”

It doesn’t seem like there are any hard feelings between Metallica and Newsted. The bassist’s relationship with the band appears neutral and maybe more positive than those years they spent as bandmates. When the ‘Black Album’ remastered came out in 2021, Newsted promoted the Deluxe box album and talked about their memories together.