Metallica’s former bassist Jason Newsted joined Bill Burr for an interview and recalled how Lars Ulrich planned accordingly to give James Hetfield‘s voice a rest during performances.
Making the most album appearances among Metallica’s other bassists, Newsted performed on the band’s most commercially successful albums. Throughout his career in Metallica, the bassist also went on several tours.
After leaving the band to focus on other projects, Newsted has continued to make new music with many other bands. However, he still has many stories to tell about Metallica, although his tenure in the band was rather brief.
In an interview on his YouTube channel, Bill Burr talked with Newsted about Metallica’s live performances. He then asked the bassist whether Lars Ulrich scheduled breaks during the shows.
As a response, Jason Newsted said yes but added that these breaks were focused on James Hetfield as he wanted to give his voice time to rest. According to the bassist, Hetfield would relax his throat during guitar solos or Newsted’s vocals.
Following that, Newsted claimed that three or four of those breaks helped the band make it through the shows without a problem. As the bassist said, these breaks almost always aimed at keeping Hetfield’s vocals fresh.
During the interview, Bill Burr asked Jason Newsted that:
“When Lars Ulrich put together those sets, were there scheduled breaks? Like, ‘Hey, let’s give us a break and play ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ let’s just slow it down here, everybody works the kinks out, and then we’ll start thrashing again…'”
Newsted then responded:
“Yeah, it was centered around James’ vocal thing and being able to give him a rest for certain songs and stuff.
So, a bass solo, guitar solo, these things where he could go and sit for a minute, or I would take a vocal for a four-minute song, and then he’d be able to get that seven minutes of rest in his throat there, and nine minutes rest in his throat there.
So if you had three or four of those through the set, you can make it through no problem. But it was always based around the vocal and keeping that athleticism fresh.”
You can watch the full interview below.