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JASON NEWSTED On His Black Album Earnings: "I've Been Really, Really Frugal"

Though there was a time where he was "dropping all this money for wine and fancy shit."

Newsted Haircut

We asked ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted if he could live off his Black Album earnings way back in 2017. Newsted said he had some people that helped him invest his money wisely, but was also doing really well when he wasn't even a full-time member of the band.

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"…the sales of the record is something that's never been seen before, it's this thing that won't go away, and everything we couldn't ever have predicted, so that's plain and simple, that's information for anybody to know or find," Newsted said at the time. "But early on, when I joined the band in '86 and they were already headed up by some very together people. Some very together team of management and other people that handled their business. From day one, even when I was just a hired gun before I started getting a cut — it took five and a half months before I started getting a full cut. So the first five and a half months, I was just a session guy. So by April of '87, which was… yeah, check THAT shit out. Thirty years ago this month, I joined as a full member taking a full cut.

"So, from that time, the persons that handled them and guided them, also took me under their wing and guided me. OK? And the people that know what goes on with investments. So, when we did what we did and were able to hit what we hit, and hit that stride, and we were able to take it to the people when there were that many 12- to 16-year old male individuals on the planet that we played our metal to and they came and checked out the stuff and we made some bucks and CDs still sold and T-shirts still sold, and we really invested money. That's all.

"It's cool that the record's selling and that's great, but I mostly do things for other people with that money. So […] The Black Album really didn't have to sell anymore either, because somebody helped me early on in my career."

Then last year in the The So What! Interviews that Metallica conducted for their Black Album anniversary, Newsted revealed he's made the money last by pretty much not squandering it on frivolous things. Newsted added that there was absolutely a time he was spending a lot of it on "nice clothes and shoes and stuff," but eventually got past that phase.

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"All of us experienced some kind of swelly head at different levels for different amounts of time through this three-year span. [It was] inevitable and impossible for it not to happen… I remember me personally, when I went shopping with Kirk in Paris, and he took to me a couple of nice, nice stores, and I threw down a lot of money for some nice clothes and shoes and stuff. I'd never done that before. And I thought I was the shit… So I did get caught in the moment.

I think that I've been really, really frugal with my earnings, and so that's why I still have them. But I did have a couple of moments there. But that was the time — dropping all this money for wine and fancy shit… And I think it lasted for about — I'd say five to six months, for myself, that it was just that 'walking on air.' Everywhere that you went, in the 55 countries that we played in, they're waiting for you when you fucking there… What are you supposed to do?"

Check out the full four-part interview below.

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