The former Metallica bassist retells the competition and camaraderie of the Bay Area and recalls the historical significance of playing in front of 1.6 million fans in Russia.
The third segment of the at-length conversation with legendary Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, features host Josh Toomey of the Talk Toomey podcast dig into some of the band’s most significant shows during their Black Album global victory lap in 1991.
Newsted fondly recalled the band’s triumphant homecoming in Oakland’s landmark, Day On the Green event that the musician described as, “coming home as champions.” The fall event in the Bay Area saw Metallica return to their formative stomping grounds, emboldened by the success of the colossal Black Album and their subsequent conquering of rock music as the world knew it.
Again referencing the thriving Bay Area thrash scene that gave birth to bands like Metallica and the kind of competitive drive that existed among the bands of the era, Newsted makes no bare bones about being among the very best. Citing Lars’ vision, James’ riffs, and the collective tenacity of the band as a whole, Newsted gushes with pride about the kind of impact they made during that time and the kind of longevity that affirms this was no trend, it was transformative.
Newsted explained that because the band had been on the road for a few months already in support of the Black Album, a combination of wanting to show out for their homeboys in the Bay Area and being perfectly in rhythm from the hustle of the road resulted in Metallica playing one of the best shows they had ever played during Day On the Green.
In keeping with the theme of landmark shows of the cycle, Newsted also discussed Metallica’s appearance for the historic 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow event that saw Metallica perform in front of some 1.6 million people. The bill famously included the likes of AC/DC, The Black Crowes and the iconic footage of a young Pantera. Newsted spoke highly of the Cowboys from Hell by putting their classic performance into context, “Pantera was on at 10am. And that’s how wicked they were.”
Using Pantera as a means to explain his cream of the crop metaphor, Newsted talked about how Pantera’s determination and pride in their craft allowed the individuals of the band to converge to become something bigger than anyone of them were as individuals – referencing what Metallica had come together to do just the same.
Newsted also explained how the historic Moscow event came to be. At that time, Metallica and AC/DC were touring the Eastern Block in areas that were still under communist rule. After a failed coup in Moscow, thwarted by a civil resistance to put down the attempt of community hardliners to seize control, the government asked the people that stood up to the coup leaders what they wanted as a reward for their allegiance to their country – they asked for Western Rock N Roll.
The bassist goes on to share how Pantera was running on maybe an hour and a half of sleep and still managed to go out onstage and crush. He talked about the iconic footage and laughed about how he has watched the performances of essentials like “Domination” and “Primal Concrete Sledge” way more than he watched Metallica’s Moscow performance.
Framing the importance of the show even further, Newsted talked about how there were still fans waiting with records to be autographed and band t-shirts, but in Moscow at the time, that record was six weeks worth of wages, that t-shirt wasn’t something that could be bought down the street at Hot Topic. It was that kind of dedication and allegiance to Metallica that still resonates with the bassist to this day.
Stream the third installment of the Talk Toomey Podcast special with former Metallica bassist, Jason Newsted below.