Bassist Jason Newsted may not have been an original member of Metallica, but he was present for the band's rise from the metal underground to the top of the charts worldwide from the late-'80s up to the dawn of the 21st century. Born on March 4, 1963, in Battle Creek, MI, Newsted and his family relocated when he was 14 to Kalamazoo, MI. Shortly thereafter Newsted discovered rock music via Kiss and their blood-spurting, fire-breathing demon bassist, Gene Simmons. He soon discovered other popular metal bands of the day (Ted Nugent, Rush, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult), all the while learning bass and playing in local bands. Doomsday for the Deceiver

In 1981, Newsted and a friend left Michigan with hopes of making it to California to start up a band, but made it only as far as Phoenix, where they remained. Newsted formed a new band shortly thereafter, dubbed Dogz, which changed their name to Flotsam & Jetsam by 1983, specializing in a newly founded metal style -- thrash. It was also around this time that Newsted discovered the frontrunners of thrash, Metallica, quickly becoming his favorite band. Flotsam & Jetsam signed with the Metal Blade record company, appearing on an edition of the label's Metal Massacre compilation and recording a debut album, 1986's Doomsday for the Deceiver. All the while Newsted was the band's leader, serving as the main songwriter and lyricist in addition to his bass duties.

Master of Puppets
Flotsam was quickly moving up the ladder when Metallica (who had just released their most successful album yet, the classic Master of Puppets release) suffered the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton mid-tour in September of 1986. Metallica decided to soldier on and began auditioning bass players to fill the void left by Burton. Despite a promising future with Flotsam & Jetsam, Newsted opted to try out for Metallica and got the gig. Metallica picked up where their tour left off shortly after naming Newsted their new member and spent 1987 working on their highly anticipated follow-up to Master. Although 1988's epic prog-metal concept album And Justice for All was a major hit and broke Metallica to the big time, Newsted's bass was barely audible in the mix, while his songwriting talents were barely utilized at all (he earned a lone co-songwriting credit with the album-opener, "Blackened"). By the release of 1991's self-titled release, Metallica had become one of the world's most popular rock bands -- a more straightforward musical approach and embracement of music videos had paid off, as the album would eventually sell over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. After a mammoth two-year tour in support of the album had ground to a halt in 1993, the members took time off.

It wasn't until 1996 that the quartet would issue their next studio album, Load, but the group took some heat from longtime fans due to their new look (short hair, designer threads) and a more varied musical style that embraced other forms besides metal. But Load was another sizeable hit, as was its follow-up a year later, Reload. 1998 saw a compilation of cover tunes from over the years, Garage Inc., while 1999's symphonic metal experiment, S&M, was well received. Newsted had also found time to guest on other artist's recordings (Voivod's Phobos, Jim Martin's Milk & Blood, U.N.K.L.E.'s Psyence Fiction, and Sepultura's Against) and was set to launch a side-project titled Echo Brain in 2000, which appeared to cause some strife within Metallica -- confirmed by a tell-all interview by all four bandmembers in Playboy magazine in early 2001. Around the same time the aforementioned Playboy interview hit the stands, Newsted abruptly left Metallica, offering the statement, "Due to private and personal reasons, and the physical damage I've done to myself over the years while playing the music I love, I must step away from the band."

Ozzy Osbourne Band
Newsted joined Canadian thrash metal band Voivod in 2002. Coincidentally, he was also Trujillo's replacement in Osbourne's band (having switched sides) during Ozzfest 2003, which included Voivod as a Second Stage act. During an MTV interview, both Osbourne and Newsted showed extreme enthusiasm in writing a new album together, with Osbourne comparing Newsted to "a young Geezer Butler." However, this would not come to fruition as Newsted left Osbourne upon finishing tour duties in late 2003. He would soon be replaced by Rob Zombie bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson. Newsted then focused solely on Voivod, in which, much like Echobrain, the group was funded entirely through him. They recorded two albums before Newsted's participation in Rock Star Supernova, a supergroup created through reality television series Rock Star: Supernova in 2006.

The fourth incarnation of Voivod featured three of the four founding members: Denis Bélanger (aka Snake, vocals), Denis D'Amour (aka Piggy, guitars), and Michel Langevin (aka Away, drums), with Jason Newsted (aka Jasonic) on bass guitar. Guitarist D'Amour died at the age of 45 on August 26, 2005 due to complications from colon cancer. The record Katorz (a phonetic spelling of quatorze, the French word for fourteen), released in July 2006, was based around riffs found on D'Amour's laptop. A December 2008 update on Voivod's website noted that Newsted played "all the bass tracks" on their latest album Infini, which was released on June 23, 2009. Voivod have since reunited with original bass player Jean-Yves Thériault (Blacky).

Rock Star Supernova
Supernova formed the basis of the second season of the CBS television program Rock Star in the quest to find a lead singer. The show began online on the Rock Star web site on MSN on Monday, July 3, 2006 with an Internet exclusive weekly episode, and premiered on CBS on that Wednesday, July 5. Votes were cast via the website. On September 13, 2006, Lukas Rossi was crowned the winner.

Shoulder injury
On October 23, 2006, Newsted was injured while attempting to catch a falling bass amp head. The accident resulted in a torn anterior labrum in his left shoulder and a rotator cuff and biceps tear in the right. He was scheduled for immediate surgery, and underwent a lengthy rehab process. During this time he was unable to play, and began to express himself through painting. On January 4, 2007, he was back playing his bass again.

Art career
While recovering from his shoulder injury, Newsted found solace through painting. Newsted has turned out a number of large original works of art over the last half a decade. Jason Newsted says that he went "from making crazy and colorful music to making crazy and colorful paintings." His first gallery show opened on May 4, 2010 at Micaëla Gallery in San Francisco. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction

On April 4, 2009, Newsted was present with Metallica and played with the band alongside current bassist Robert Trujillo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland. It was his first performance with the band in nearly 9 years, their last performance together having taken place at the 2000 VH1 Music Awards. Both Newsted and Trujillo performed onstage at the same time, which was a first for the band.

In October 2010 it was announced that Newsted would be joining a supergroup with singer Ian Gillan and former keyboardist Jon Lord from Deep Purple, guitarist Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, second guitarist Mikko Lindström from HIM and drummer Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden. The band, called WhoCares, recorded a charity single titled "Out of My Mind". The charity single also features a track titled "Holy Water" and is available as via digital download or CD format as of 6 May 2011.

In December 2012, Jason announced that he had formed his own band called Newsted with drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. and guitarist Jessie Farnsworth. The band released a four-song EP, titled Metal, on January 8, 2013.