Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett reached out to his former bandmate, bassist Jason Newsted, to celebrate his 56th birthday today.
He wrote on Instagram, “Happy Bday Jekkerz ! #metfamily @jasonnewstedofficial.”
Lars Ulrich wrote, “‘Smile Lars, it’s Jason’s birthday!!!’
Happy birthday Brother..🎉🎂🍰🎁🎈”
Newsted quit Metallica in 2001. During a meeting between the members of Metallica in January 2001, Newsted proposed that the band should take a year-long hiatus, and he would use that time to focus on his side-project Echobrain. When the other band members rejected Newsted’s proposals, he chose to quit the band. On January 17, as plans were being made for the band to enter the recording studio to record its eighth studio album, Newsted announced his departure. Newsted’s statement revealed his departure was based on “private and personal reasons and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love.”
During a Playboy interview with Metallica, Newsted revealed that he wanted to release an album with Echobrain. Hetfield was against the idea and said, “When someone does a side project, it takes away from the strength of Metallica.” Newsted countered his statement by citing Hetfield’s contributions to other musical outlets. Hetfield replied, “My name isn’t on those records, and I’m not out trying to sell them,” and pondered questions such as Where would it end? Does he start touring with it? Does he sell shirts? Is it his band? Newsted’s departure from Metallica, along with Hetfield’s decision to go to rehab a few months later, almost led to a breakup of the band. After Hetfield rejoined Metallica, the band finished recording St. Anger, with record producer Bob Rock filling the bass slot. Robert Trujillo became the band’s new bassist in 2003.