When Jason Newsted Tricked Lars Ulrich To Join Metallica
Metal music’s undeniable icon Metallica has been the branding image of the genre since its formation in 1981. The music they had created and continue to create has inspired many musicians worldwide and given them a permanent place in the music industry. For 41 years, the band has been through thick and thin, enjoying their success and achievements together.
Even though they faced a couple of tragedies and bad luck, they continued to perform and kept on giving fans and other musicians something to enjoy. While one of the tragedies was Hetfield’s struggle with addiction, another horrible event that hit the band was the horrifying death of their bassist Cliff Burton in 1986.
What Happened To The Band After The Death Of Cliff Burton
The band was on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, and they were traveling in the tour bus when Burton was asleep in Kirk Hammett’s bunk. The bus driver lost control, and the bus flipped a couple of times, eventually killing Burton. The cause of the accident is still controversial. While there were rumors that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, his defense was that there was ice on the road.
Burton’s death devastated the band members, but they decided to continue Metallica. Hence, they searched for a new bassist and started to audition musicians. Jason Newsted was also one of the bassists that auditioned, and he talked about a trick he did that made him get the part and become the bassist of one of the greatest metal bands.
How Did Jason Newsted Get The Part In Metallica?
Newsted was the last person to audition among 50 players, so he had to be memorable. When Metallica was touring with Ozzy Osbourne and opening for him, he had studied the setlist of those performances. When he told the band that these are the songs he knows, Lars Ulrich was shocked to see that it was the entire setlist.
Newsted nailed those songs and was called back to play again. Next thing, he was a part of one of the biggest metal bands in the world. Jason joined in 1986 and performed with the band for 15 years before he left in 2001. The band later replaced him with Robert Trujillo and is still active together.
Here is how Newsted told the story of his audition:
“I got to play last. They called 50 guys out, and I played last. I studied the songs they played when they opened for Ozzy. I found the setlist Metallica played, wrote them, and went, ‘I know these ones, Lars.’
And he goes, ‘Dude, that’s our setlist!’ And I’m like, ‘Huh, what do you know?’ He’s like, ‘Alright, let’s go.’ So I nailed them down, and that was it – they called me that night to come back and play four more in two days.
So on Halloween of 1986, I played my last show with Flotsam and Jetsam, I loaded my bass cabinet into my Ford truck. 11 days later, I was playing sold-out shows in Japan with Metallica, freakin’ Budokan!”
Watch the 2015 interview below.