Ex-METALLICA bassist JASON NEWSTED is putting together a heavy new project
Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted recently stopped by Gator 98.7 FM‘s Gator Garage for a VIP performance and question-and-answer session with the radio station’s Jason and Franny. Asked what musical projects he is currently working on, Jason said: “Actually, I spent six months of last year putting together THE CHOPHOUSE BAND ‘Volume 1’. THE CHOPHOUSE BAND has been together (and) making music since 1992. So it was our first album after 30 years. I spent a lot of time on that. And then, once I got that under my belt, I’m kind of stepping back into the heavy now. So the last couple of weeks I’ve been auditioning guitar players for a heavy project. I’m back on bass and singing with a metal drummer — double bass, you know; getting’ loud again. So I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire. I’m putting two new projects together right now — but loud.”
Last April, Newsted told Gator 98.7 FM that he was “not playing any acoustic guitar” with THE CHOPHOUSE BAND “anymore — it’s just Les Pauls and SGs and stuff now. Some of it’s a little quieter but most of it’s not,” he said.
Elaborating on the musical direction of the new THE CHOPHOUSE BAND material, Jason said: “THE CHOPHOUSE BAND started out as almost a bluegrass-tinged thing, and now it gets to some places that are as heavy as anything else that I’d been involved with — VOIVOD, Ozzy (Osbourne), METALLICA, NEWSTED band; any of that stuff — it gets to those places now.”
Adding that he “loves” singing, Newsted said: “Now since the last time anybody saw THE CHOPHOUSE BAND, we have a vocal group within the band. Now there are four singers in the band. So I can actually really concentrate on playing the guitar and then singing that background stuff. And there’s screaming and some (growling) also. So I still haven’t lost that. And it lets people know that there’s still one foot in that place. You can take the boy out of the metal (but) you can’t take the metal out of the boy; it’s just the way it’s always gonna be. So I’m excited for people to be able to witness what we have been working so hard at. I put a lot — a lot — of energy into these new songs.”
Newsted also revealed that THE CHOPHOUSE BAND was planning to record its debut album. Asked if he would release the LP himself, Jason replied “yes” before clarifying, “Actually, it’s possible — very possible — that I’ll be back into the Q Prime fold (METALLICA‘s longtime management company) with that kind of backing, like a real-deal thing.”
Named after Jason‘s four recording studio facilities around the U.S. and featuring a fluid roster of players, THE CHOPHOUSE BAND began in 1992 when Newsted founded The Chophouse Records Studio in San Francisco.
THE CHOPHOUSE BAND is led by Newsted, playing guitar and performing lead vocal, accompanied by close friends/musicians of all walks and styles.
Jason previously told the Palm Beach Florida Weekly about THE CHOPHOUSE BAND: “We all get along great because there’s not money involved. They’ve got their own bands, their own families, their own gigs. We do benefit gigs, six a year, and that’s it. I record and write and play songs the whole rest of the time. They could all run circles around me musical theory-wise. They could tell you everything they’re playing, and all the relating chords. I surround myself with the badasses, and they make me look really good. I’m playing cowboy chords the whole time, and they’re doing their fancy shit to make me look good. I just concentrate on singing, and getting across the things I want people to hear.”
Jason left METALLICA back in 2001, but was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, along with Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and the man who replaced him, bassist Robert Trujillo, in 2009.
Nine years ago, Jason shelved NEWSTED, the heavy metal project he operated between 2012 and 2014, saying that it cost him “an awful lot of money — hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He added: “I couldn’t continue because the business is such a harsh thing now and so different than what I had known.”