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Lars Ulrich: Metallica was not equipped to deal with Jason Newsted’s departure

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich said he can now understand the decision (David Parry/PA)
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich said he can now understand the decision (David Parry/PA)

Metallica star Lars Ulrich has said the band was not “equipped” to deal with the departure of Jason Newsted two decades ago.

The bassist exited the heavy metal band in 2001, after 14 years in the line-up.

Drummer Ulrich said he and frontman James Hetfield felt “resentment” at the time and were not able to see his perspective.

He told Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1: “If you think about it, Jason is the only member of Metallica who has ever left willingly. And that in itself is a statistic.

“And the resentment from James and I was just so… You can’t do that. You can only leave if we want you to leave.

“And then we weren’t equipped at the time to do a deep dive into why he was leaving.

“So of course, now you can see 20 years later, it makes complete sense, but okay, we write the songs. We make the decisions. We do all of it.

“You have no creative outlet in this band. You have no creative voice.

“Then when you go and do something that gives you satisfaction in a way for you to express yourself to the rest of the world, then we get pissed at you.

“Then that resentment then goes to you leaving the band. I mean, that’s kind of psychiatry 101 here.

“But we weren’t equipped to see that side of it (until) 20 years later.

“So now it makes complete sense. Jason gave 14 years, every day, every performance. He was there always.

“I mean, we always used to joke. It’s like, ‘He’s so fired up. Come on, dude. Slow down.’

“He was the first guy (in) and the last guy out. He was signing autographs when we were driving by waving on the way out of the buildings. I mean, he really was.

“I now am finally equipped to appreciate every moment that he gave. And we have, I think, so much respect for each other now, so much appreciation.”

Hetfield and Ulrich formed Metallica in 1981. Newsted joined Metallica soon after bassist Cliff Burton’s death in 1986.

He was replaced by Rob Trujillo, who is still part of the line-up.

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