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 Billboard.com. “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.”