August 5, 2005

Newsted keeping busy with diverse projects

By Greg Prato

NEW YORK (Billboard) - One thing Jason Newsted isn't likely
to be accused of is musical predictability. The former
Metallica bassist is a member of a myriad of projects for his
Chophouse label, while he still gets his metal fix as a member
of the veteran Canadian group Voivod.

The latest Newsted/Chophouse project is a surprisingly
bluesy/psychedelic outfit, Heard Of Elements, which sees
Newsted (who handles bass, keyboard and vocal duties) joined by
slide guitarist Roy Rogers and drummer Carl Coletti (best-known
for his work with flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert). Instead
of releasing an album, the trio has begun posting songs on the
Chophouse Web site (

"There's psychedelic stuff going on," Newsted tells "There's the obvious elements of each of the
players 'forte.' I think it's very refreshing kind of music.
All the stuff you hear is just us playing from the floor --
there are no overdubs or things like that."

Newsted says that while no touring plans have been
discussed for the band, they wouldn't be opposed to the odd
live gig. "I wouldn't want to say never on anything like that,
because it's fun to turn people's heads around with something
like that," he says. "But we only have about 25 minutes of
solid music of our own -- we could pull together a couple of
covers or something like that and make a set for someone. If it
presents itself, we'd look at it for sure."

Also upcoming will be a new Voivod studio album via The End
label, which Newsted says will hopefully be out early next
year. "It's the most complete demos I've ever been involved
in," he says. "(Voivod singer) Snake has already chosen his
effects -- exact timing of milliseconds for delay. We've had a
long time to develop the demos, so there's about 23 or 25 songs
that are absolutely listenable right now."

Like Metallica, Newsted was a huge fan of Voivod before he
was invited to join and he remains a great admirer to this day.
"They created something a long, long time ago that may have
been emulated many, many times since -- but nobody can do it
like the original," he offers.

Newsted has also been recording music with the ongoing
project Papa Wheelie. "I play guitar and scream," he says.
"Full metal. We still rock that a couple times a week, and we
have hundreds and hundreds of hours of music. It's very much an
improv vibe; we have some songs that are set, but for the most
part, it's really like Kyuss/desert jams each time we play."