“Hetfield would say, ‘Dude, get that bass s**t happening!’ It was a breathin'-down-your-neck type of thing...” Jason Newsted on the making of Metallica’s Load album

James Hetfield and Jason Newsted of Metallica onstage at the 24th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the tragic death of legendary Metallica bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, Jason Newsted had worked hard to get his name to the band, and felt certain he was the bassist they needed, but Burton was no easy act to follow. Looking back in 1999, Newsted told BP that “I wouldn’t wish my first years in Metallica on my worst enemy as far as the emotional stress goes, but I always felt I was the guy to take over from Cliff.”

Newsted’s bass sound didn’t always feature highly in the mix during his early recordings with Metallica, but on Load, his fourth record with the pioneers of thrash metal, his growling 4-string – tuned down a half-step – drove the band, along with Lars Ulrich's signature kick drum. Newsted even braved a fretless bass guitar on Until It Sleeps. Had he finally earned the props he deserved?

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.

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