Heavy Metal Blog:

JB's Top Five Bass Players - #4
June 11, 2009

Before I get started on the list please let me explain this is not a measure of technical ability or record sales or anything. This is just lists about musicians I like that play my favorite instrument - The Bass. I do have to give a massive shout out to Geezer, he's not on the list, but we all have to talk about the influence. On with the show:

My #4 favorite bass player is none other then long time Metallica member Jason Newstead.

When most people talk about Jason they talk about the fan that got to live his dream and play with his heroes in Metallica. That might be true on some levels, but Jason was part of Flotsam & Jetsom before Metallica. They recorded and album, which credits Jason with 90% of the writing credits.

In 1986 Metallica Bassist Cliff Burton died in a tragic bus accident leaving Metallica devastated and looking for a new bass player. Auditions were held and Jason was selected over 30 other musicians that auditioned. This started the feeling of being the "hired hand" of Metallica. Even to this day Jason will say he never felt like a true part of the band. To make matters worse when the first studio album featuring Jason came out (Justice for All) people were outraged in the fact that the bass line was not featured. Lars and James blamed it on poor production, but Jason always claimed it added to the resentment.

1991 was a break-through year for Jason and Metallica. The Black Album was released and the producer Bob Rock used Jason's considerable skill to it potential. The band was riding high over the years but tension was always there with Jason and the group. In 2000 it boiled over with Jason working on his self-funded band Ecobrain. Jason wanted to release an album and James claimed it would weaken Metallica. With that being said Jason officially walked away from Metallica on January 17, 2001.

Ecobrain did release the album, but to very little critical success. Metallica also struggled with St. Anger, which is a whole other blog in itself. Jason moved on to working with Ozzy Osbourne for a full tour and talked of writing an album together, but after the tour Jason left Ozzy for undisclosed reasons.

Next was Canadian thrash legends Voivod. Once again Jason funded the band himself. They have released two albums, but with the exception of a small cult following the albums have done very little. I could also talk about Jason's involvement with Rockstar Supernova, but why?

I like Jason because he was the first real bass player I noticed when I saw Metallica and I had never heard a bass solo before. It was amazing. That will always be special, but since he left Metallica he has just lost his way. At the Hall of Fame ceremony this year he was on stage with Metallica again and we all sat back and realized where he needs to be!

Show your horns,

JB Martell