Jason Newsted’s tenure with Metallica may have lasted a decade and a half with tens of millions of albums sold, but his input was anything but prodigious.
The metal giants recorded four albums of new material during the Newsted era – 1988’s “… And Justice For All,” 1991’s self-titled set, 1996’s “Load” and “Reload” a year after that – yet bassist Newsted’s contributions to the band, despite his reported best efforts, can be counted on one hand, and with a digit or two to spare.
In the early days of 2001, and just as Metallica was readying to record what would become 2003’s “St. Anger,” Newsted announced his departure from the band; the official statement from the band camp was, as quoted, for “private and personal reasons and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love.” Later on, though, it was revealed that Newsted’s desire to release an album with a side project, Echobrain, was met with strong objection from the mother band, most specifically front man James Hetfield.
The post-Newsted era has only seen two sets of new music from Metallica, 2003’s uneven “Anger” and 2008’s return-to-the-roots “Death Magnetic (“Lulu,” the band’s 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed, is left off this tally and best forgotten altogether).” Newsted, on the other hand, has made up for lost time.
Mostly staying loyal to his heavy metal roots, Newsted joined the long-running thrash band Voivod shortly after leaving Metallica and also backed Ozzy Osbourne for the 2003 Ozzfest run. He also lent his talents to bands such as Gov’t Mule and Papa Wheelie, and was also a member of the one-off heavy metal supergroup WhoCares, which included Deep Purple’s Ian Gillian and Jon Lord and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.
This year, Newsted released the appropriately titled “Metal,” a four song EP under the bassist’s surname. The set entered the Billboard 200 album chart in the 62nd spot, no small feat for an indie metal release.
While Newsted may not be playing to packed arenas or hanging his hat on million-selling efforts, it’s easy to assume that his musical adventures since leaving the Metallica machine are more than satisfactory for the still-evolving hard rock great.
Newsted, 9 p.m. May 18, Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago. $25 (17 and older). FYI: (312) 666-6775, BOTTOMLOUNGE.COM
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The Lonely Island, July 15, Aragon Ballroom (ARAGON.COM)
Li’l Wayne, Aug. 10, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (LIVENATION.COM)
Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, July 7, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
Tricky, June 17, Metro (18 and older, METROCHICAGO.COM)
Pet Shop Boys, Sept. 28, Auditorium Theatre (AUDITORIUMTHEATRE.ORG)
The Allman Brothers Band, Aug. 20-21, Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, July 7, Charter One Pavilion (LIVENATION.COM)
Patti Griffin, June 12, Athenaeum Theatre (ATHENAEUMTHEATRE.ORG)
Jimmy Eat World, Aug. 18, Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
“American Idol Live 2013,” July 6, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
The Eagles, Sept. 20, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)