Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted recently backed Lars Ulrich. He defended the veteran and argued that it’s not just Lars’s drumming that made Metallica great, but also his dedication, management & decision-making skills.
Jason Newsted backs Lars Ulrich
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich has proven to be a particular target for some. The trend of Lars-dumping has been sporadically going on for at least a decade or two, but it seems to have intensified recently, especially with “72 Seasons” being out and all — which made some prominent musicians speak out in defense of the drummer over the past few months.
Gojira’s Mario Duplantier argued last March that “justice” needs to be brought to Lars Ulrich, reminding fans that “what he did create is quite unique.” Mike Portnoy similarly lauded Lars as an example of a “hands-on” drummer that had a massive effect on him.
Speaking to Dean Delray in a new interview, Jason Newsted commented on people calling his ex-bandmate an underwhelming musician (transcription via Blabbermouth):
“Anybody that says that is a f***ing idiot. They have no idea what they’re talking about. The depth of this guy, his foresight, his comprehension of what the hell was going on when he was 21, 22, 23. Seriously? So if he can’t play the same fill as Dave Lombardo or whoever the f*** you pick for today, so what? Look at the scoreboard, motherf***er. Do not talk shit about that guy. He’s way ahead of you in most things, I promise you that — I promise you.
“If we wouldn’t have had him and his ability to anticipate, to predict, to know geography, to understand what country and what city and what did what at what time and all this stuff, no way Metallica would be what they were. No way! So you need to get ahold of yourselves because there’s way more to it than just being able to hit a snare drum.”
Newsted went on, reflecting on how much discipline goes into making Metallica run as smoothly as it has, but also noting that musicianship is only one part of the larger equation:
“The demand [on the musicians] back when Jimi Hendrix was playing and Black Sabbath started touring or whatever, the band came out, smoked some hash, played the songs, got paid a little bit, had some beers, chased a girl, went on their way.
“That filled their whole plate. There was a ‘Paranoid’ video that they agreed to do for one second; they put a bunch of oil behind them or whatever. That [would have taken no more than] a couple of hours in his day. Now, or even — shit — 20-something years ago, or 30 perhaps, that much of the plate right there would be filled with the things we just spoke of: you learned your instrument, you played in tune, you tried to sing, you remember what’s coming next and memorize your shit.
“And then this chunk is the videos, and then this chunk is the interviews, and then that chunk is that thing, then that chunk is that thing, that chunk is meetings, that chunk is lawyers, that chunk is depositions. And then you’ve got that time for your wife. That’s what’s real.
“So if anybody wants to talk about, ‘Oh, yeah, I got this. I could do that.’ Could you? Could you, really? I don’t think so, man.”