The Metallica Song That Foreigner’s Lou Gramm Called ‘Evil’
Asked what he felt when sessions for Metallica's Black Album came to a close, Jason Newsted answers without missing a beat: "Prideful is my first word. Really, really proud. Confident and excited for people who I respected to hear it."
The former bassist has been discussing Metallica's breakthrough release during a four-part talk with So What! editor Steffan Chirazi. No stone has been unturned, from chatting about his ego to earnings, and more. You can watch the interview below.
Newsted was so proud of what they'd accomplished, in fact, that he began sharing a cassette recording with a trio of songs from the self-titled LP, "Enter Sandman," "Nothing Else Matters" and "Sad But True."
"I'd play it for people," he said, "[because] back then you wouldn't worry about anybody downloading shit. We were still very careful about it. The people I was playing it for were my friends in my own studio, or my family in their house and stuff like that."
There was one listening session, however, that will forever stand out to Newsted – and it happened on May 26, 1991, at an unlikely place: The Indianapolis 500.
"Lou Gramm is there, the singer of Foreigner," Newsted told Chirazi. "They were a big influence when I was a kid. Huge in the Midwest – fucking huge." Newsted was introduced to Gramm, who told the bassist that he was a big Metallica fan.
Gramm then asked what the band was up to. Newsted remembered his handy cassette, and offered to give the Foreigner frontman a preview. "So we get inside a fucking black limousine at the Indy 500," Newsted said. "He's sitting up toward the driver's side facing me. I put the cassette in."
Newsted then mimicked the pummeling guitars of "Sad But True" and laughed about how Gramm settled deep into his seat, almost as if the sound was so forceful it pushed him back.
"He was kind of nodding his head. I don't know if he knew he was doing it," Newsted said. "I'm thinking he didn't like it, like he's nodding his head 'No.' It finishes and he's kind of breathing hard. I'm like, 'What?' He goes, 'That's amazing. Wow.' He was literally taken by the weight of the song. 'Wow, that's evil, man!'"
After "Sad But True," Newsted told Chirazi that he played "Nothing Else Matters" – or as he called it, "the quiet song." Gramm responded, "Whoa. You guys are onto something."
"He stepped out of that car and gave me some props," Newsted remembered. "I'll never forget that."
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