Jason Newsted Recalls Emotional Final Metallica Audition
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted recalled the emotional experience of his final audition with the band, which took place in front of predecessor Cliff Burton’s parents.
Burton’s death on tour in 1986 meant they needed a new member to continue, and Newsted had already delivered two test performances with James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett.
“That evening, it was the third day that I played with the boys," Newsted told Metal Hammer in a recent interview marking the band’s 40th anniversary. "I think I stayed overnight in San Francisco for the first time.”
He continued: “That third night, they had ‘the elders’ come in for their blessing. So, Torben Ulrich [Lars’ dad], the Burtons, a couple of the crew guys, people that had been there from the get-go.” He recalled playing six of the band’s “masterpieces,” including “Master of Puppets,” “Fade to Black” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls."
“So I am just composing myself for a second, putting my bass down, turning off Cliff’s amp — I’m playing fucking Cliff’s amp, dude!" he continued. "Jan [Burton, Cliff’s mom] comes walking in the room by herself, and she grabs me, and gets my attention. She says, ‘Great job, son,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh fuck!’
“She embraced me, and it seemed like it was quite a while, and she said, ‘You’re the one, you must be the one. Please be safe, we love you,’ and she gave me a kiss.” He concluded: “That was 35 years ago, and I'll never, ever forget it.”