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Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted gets back to headbanging

@graffonmusic, www.facebook.com/garygraffonmusic

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The last thing Jason Newsted expected to do was start another band.

The Battle Creek-born bassist had done his 16-year tenure in Metallica, then gone on to work with Voivod, Echobrain, Ozzy Osbourne, Govt Mule, the all-star WhoCares project and more. At this juncture Newsted -- who turned 50 in March -- was happily married and spending his time painting at home in California. But after some song he'd written began circulating, Newsted found himself "being approached by agents and managers and all that stuff."

Now he has a band that bears his surname -- and includes Staind guitarist Mike Mushok -- a four-song EP called "Metal" out and a full-length album coming later this year.

"I never really intended on doing any of this or coming back out in this way at all," says Newsted. "I was content just hanging out and enjoying my life." But after guesting at Metallica's 30th anniversary shows during late 2011 in San Francisco, Newsted was bitten by the headbanging bug again.

"I hadn't really been amongst the people for a long time, never went to see a Metallica show or anything after I left the band," he explains. "So when I did that show and people were so happy to see me, I was overwhelmed. I didn't realize people cared that much anymore or missed me that much. I was catapulted back into it by their interest."

The Newsted band will be spending most of the year on the road, including a run as part of Megadeth's Gigantour. And Newsted has no qualms about leading a group that, for the first ever, has his name up front.

"I figured if I was going to go back out and use the money I earned in Metallica to make the band happen and be all the way in it, I don't want there to be any mistakes or confusion over what's coming," he explains. "I want to make sure everybody knows what this is. I don't have time for anybody to have to figure out what this band is about. With my name on it, there's no confusion; this is metal, heavy metal music. People know what they're going to get."

Newsted, Wilson and Hell Rides North perform Friday, May 17 at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 day of show. Call 248-758-9770 or visit www.thecrofoot.com. Newsted will also perform as part of the Gigantour concert on July 8 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Independence Township. Tickets are $20-$75 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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