Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters might be two of Metallica's biggest songs, but not all members of the band were convinced by the tracks during the recording of the Black Album.
While former bassist Jason Newsted says he was sold on Sad But True in a new interview with Metal Hammer – calling it the “highlight of the whole project”, he admits he “struggled” with Nothing Else Matters, and thought Enter Sandman was “kinda corny” when he first heard it.
“I knew [Nothing Else Matters] made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, it was undeniable,” he recalls, “but I was kinda scared of it, to be honest, because I still wanted ‘crunch’!”
He continues, “The beautiful thing was that we all sat in the room together and played it out; 70 takes of Nothing Else Matters. After a while, you're too close to it, [asking yourself], ‘How much more delicate can I make it?’”
But he admits retrospectively that including the ballad on the record was instrumental in the band's subsequent success. “Our softest song ever took down the biggest walls to allow our hardest songs ever to penetrate the world,” he says.
“When it was Number One in 35 countries in one week, and seven of those countries we hadn't even been to yet? Dude, that doesn't happen to a band who go ‘Die! Die!’ most of the time.”
Newsted also touches upon 1988's ...And Justice For All – which he said he was “fucking livid” after hearing for the first time due to its largely bass-less mix – and the ...And Justice For Jason fan remixes that have appeared more recently.
“I love people's enthusiasm, their determination, their love and their appreciation,” he says. “If the Justice album had been mixed like a regular record, we wouldn't be talking about it to this day. But because that isn't the case – and I don't necessarily think that's that big a deal – we're still talking about it all these years later.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Newsted recalls working with producer Bob Rock on the 1991 album, explaining that he doesn't feel he “ever earned his respect like he had for James [Hetfield] and Lars [Ulrich]”, as they were the ones “writing the cheques”.
Earlier this month, Jason Newsted revealed he was approached to join a new Van Halen tour with Alex Van Halen and Joe Satriani, with discussions reportedly going far enough for him to travel to California to jam with the pair.
But as the former Metallica man explained, the idea eventually “fizzled”, as he “didn't want it to be viewed as a money grab”.
Last week, Newsted made clear his anger that his comments regarding the proposed tour were published, adding that the situation made him consider never being interviewed again.
“I'm really, really not happy about that,” he told 98.7 The Gater (per Ultimate Classic Rock), adding that he'd only agreed to the interview with The Palm Beach Post to promote a benefit concert in aid of a kids' arts charity.
“I mentioned two little things over here about the calls that I've received in the past 20 years from whoever it is... I talked about two seconds about that, and that's what they chose to go for. They didn't talk about the conservatory, the kids' classes, the things that we're doing.”
Read the full interview with Jason Newsted in the new issue of Metal Hammer, on sale Thursday (April 28).