Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted appeared on VH1’s That Metal Show recently, where he revealed the trick he used to land his gig with the group back in 1986.
After founding bassist Cliff Burton was killed in a bus accident on September 27 that year, Metallica began to hold auditions for a new bassist. Newsted, then playing with Flotsam and Jetsam, was among 50 who tried out for the bass slot.
“I got to play last,” Newsted tells the That Metal Show crew. “They called 50 guys out, and I played very last.
“I studied what songs they’d been playing on the Ozzy set—because they opened for Ozzy when Cliff was killed. I found the setlist Metallica played and I wrote ’em on my stationery, and I went, ‘I know these ones, Lars.’
“And he goes, ‘Dude, that’s our setlist!’ And I’m like, ‘Huh, what do you know about that?’
“He’s like, ‘All right, let’s go.’ So I nailed ’em down and that was it. They called me that night to come back and play four more [songs] in two days.
“So on Halloween of 1986 I played my last show with Flotsam and Jetsam, I loaded my bass cabinet into my Ford truck. Eleven days later, I was playing sold-out shows in Japan with Metallica, freakin’ Budokan!”
Take a look.