Pulling Your Strings…

Bass Players Everywhere Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Metallica’s …And Justice For All

Metallica …And Justice for All, Elektra 1988

While Metallica enthusiasts everywhere took to the streets to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of  …And Justice For All and it’s megaton boxset, there was one group of fans who were smiling a bit more proudly than the rest.  While the struggles and important contributions of these brave men and women to the history of metal go largely ignored, …And Justice is thought of as the record that put heavy metal non-bass playing on the map.

It set the standard for minimalist detachment that generations of metal bass players have uniformly aspired towards.  While many have compared Jason Newsted’s work to everything from Paul McCartney’s trailblazing basslines on the early Beatle records to Charles Mingus’ post-mortem early 1980s work, the bassist remains humble about his contributions to the album’s lore.

“I just kinda stood there as the thing was happening around me,” said Newstead in a recent interview.  “At one point, James asked me to go out to the corner store and grab him a Yoo-Hoo. I came back right in the middle of him laying down one of the guitar tracks on that last song “Diner’s Eve” or whatever.  He was furious. As the security guards were escorting me out of the building, Lars stopped them. If it weren’t for him, I’m not sure I’d have even made the liner notes.”

Damaged Justice tour shirt

His respectful, modest attitude towards his part on the album is particularly striking in the face of the chorus of acclaim his work on the album has received.  Some of the greatest bass players in metal weighed in with high praise.

“I remember thinking the bass was a critical part of a metal album,” said Slayer frontman and bassist extraordinaire Tom Araya.  “I was all over those first few Slayer records. Then, I heard the work Jason didn’t do on ‘…And Justice’ and I realized I was free to stop practicing the instrument and spend more time working on my menacing scowl and volunteer teaching at my kids’ Vacation Bible Study camp.  That album changed the whole game for me.”

Newsted’s 2006 induction to the Bass Hall of Fame in Moose Jaw, Montana cemented his reputation a pillar in the bass community.  According to Henry Hill, the museum’s curator, “We inducted Jason on the same day as the hat rack that was in the studio during the recording of Dark Side of The Moon.  It was a great honor. The 6 or 7 people there went crazy when he busted out the no-string, fretless bass he used on ‘…And Justice’. We still have that hanging in the back of the museum next to where we keep the cold cuts and cheese.”

Metallica’s new 114 vinyl box set, which includes 27 hours-worth of unreleased studio outtakes of Newsted meditating and cutting his toenails, is available at all local Sam Goody Record stores.  A full 1 percent of the 7,999.99 cost of the set will go to Metallica’s “Trapped Under Ice” fund to help liberate Norwegian seals from their icy graves.


Editor’s Note: Ummm, hi. If you haven’t realized it yet, this is a work of satire.

Laugh it up, Fuzzball!





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Keith Spillett

Keith Spillett is the Editor and CEO of Tyranny of Tradition. Follow him on Twitter @Tyrannyof Trad.

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