Jason Newsted discussed his bass being mixed down on Metallica’s “…And Justice for All” in a new Metal Hammer interview.
“I was fucking livid! Are you kidding me? I was ready for throats, man!
“No, I was out of my head because I really thought I did well. And I thought I played how I was supposed to play…
“Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, vocals/guitar] were the original garage band duo, as far as that goes.
“They always made the records that way, from [the 1982 demo cassette] ‘No Life ‘Til Leather,’ it was Lars and James, guitar and drums.
“On the original ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ cassette – if you happen to ever see a real copy or a photo of a real copy – in Lars’ handwriting, in ink pen, on the label of the cassette, ‘Turn bass down on stereo.’ On No Life ‘Til Leather!”
“They mixed it how it was supposed to be mixed – there’s the bass and there’s the guitar from all the way back.
“But Lars didn’t want it because it messed with his drums somehow, so when he sends the demo out to fucking Combat Records and wherever, ‘Turn the bass down before you even listen to this.’
“Before you even get it going, just turn the bass down. Right from the get-go. Before you even start.
“That’s where he’s been his whole goddamn life, so why would it be any different when it came to [‘…And Justice For All’]?
“They made [Metallica’s 1983 debut] ‘Kill ‘Em All’ that way, they made [1984’s] ‘Ride the Lightning’ that way, they made [1986’s] ‘Master of Puppets’ that way, all of them.
“Those two guys in a room [mimics drum beats and playing], that’s the way it always happened. For the most successful metal band of all time. So you argue with this shit? I’m not really sure.
“Now it’s become the best garage band album ever [for artists such as] Black Keys, White Stripes, Duo Jets, the different ‘power duos’ of garage stuff.”