The Nation (William Nicholls, Alex Roslin, Rhonda Sherwood): Metallica hasn’t come out with an album in a couple of years. Are you working on one? Jason Newsted: It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? We’ve been working for a long time on one. Since October of last year, the songwriting actually started being put to tape. I don’t know how long it will take to get it together. We started rehearsing the songs in February of this year and recording a lot of songs—maybe about two hours of music on this album.

So far, we’ve had about 18 songs that have been recorded on drums. There’s more than 18 and less than 50 songs, so there’s been a lot of time and many hours every day. We do double shifts. It’s been an on-going thing for quite a few months now. We’re recording at home and it’s going really well—good focus, a loose record, not too perfect In the past we became known as “Meticula.” That’s what they were calling us after a while. It was very much like that. Now we’re trying to get more of a loose kind of groove feel, early Sabbath, early AC/DC.

When do you expect the album to come out? Hopefully spring.

Are you filming something for a video? Yeah, we filmed last Saturday and we did a club gig at the Estoria in London a week ago Wednesday. It’s the first time we’ve been in a club for about five years. We did little warm-up gigs. But there we had to play in front of a lot people and it was for the British fan club, so it was pretty rabid. I dig being in the studio and I like to accomplish things. But getting up in front of everybody and seeing everybody’s eyes, everyone in the place, that was great/ How do you feel about playing in front of a group of Natives? This is a cool thing. See, that’s another thing. We got this offer quite some time ago. But we weren’t going to come out of the studio. We don’t have a record. You don’t just bust out of the studio paying all this money for these rooms and then go and play a live gig. It just doesn’t happen, it’s kind of unheard of.

Then they said, well, it’s up where nobody has ever played before. Nobody has played there, let alone somebody who plays heavy music. And we just said, “F*ck, that’s it That’s all you had to say to us.” It really wasn’t that much of a money thing, it’s not like they’re giving us a bunch of money or anything.

It was new ground. New kinds of territories are very important for us because we’ve played a lot of places so far and it’s hard to find places we haven’t played. It’s cool when you get a special offer like this.

And the other thing, too, is the people get to have the special experience, the people who won the contest What makes it special is you come here, coming to this town with all this activity and it’s maybe a kick in the butt for them the same way it’s a kick in the butt to us coming out of the studio, getting off on the live thing. Get a good charge, battery refueled, back into the studio with a good head, a good fresh mind.

What did you think of the community? It’s great It’s neat up here. I wasn’t sure what to expect, how great it was going to be or how plain, how simple the life was going to be. It’s a really cool thing to learn, all these special places I go to. Like Russia, when we went there, Poland—there’s certain nooks and crannies of places, it’s always a good learning experience. Being in a special place like this and learning from seeing how other people live, it really makes you feel. It’s the best part of it Also, the camaraderie that’s taking place within the bands… We’ve only been here since last night and we all stayed in the same place and had to have breakfast together in the same little room, just like being in camp. You just don’t see that if you were to go to Lolapalooza or to any given show where there’s more than just one band. It’s always like everybody has to have their attitude and put their ego on and all that kind of crap. This is not like that, far from it, and I think that’s the coolest part.

One of your songs was on a film, Power of the North…

Yeah, James and I especially, we’re really into that kind of thing and James is into the conservation of wildlife, into Ducks Unlimited, organizations and hunting. He likes to keep on top of that kind of thing. So that was a good thing to do for us. We usually don’t endorse. You don’t see Metallica in movies, you don’t see them on soundtracks, you don’t see them on K-Tel’s greatest hits, you don’t see them on a TV ad. That’s just something we don’t do and never have.

So it was a special thing for us and for them that they could use that.

How do you guys feel about the fact that you’re playing at a concert sponsored by Molson which obviously wants to promote its product and the hosting village, Tuktoyaktuk, is a dry community where alcohol can’t be sold or bought? If you were to talk to my girlfriend right now, who is up here with me, you would find that the main topic of our conversation is me going off to this thing, with the biggest beer company in Canada putting this thing on, hundreds of thousands of dollars in promotion, if not millions, and coming up here to this place. Cool, it’s on the top of the world and all that. It’s great. But I think it’s something that could have been organized where everybody could party. I mean, party. Coming to a rock ‘n’ roll show, it’s getting a little loose, even if it’s only two beers.

•The thing about respecting these people’s rules and laws and the troubles they have with alcohol and those kind of things, I mean peace. I don’t want to be part of anything to cause any trouble or hinderance to these people.

But that’s not the point, really. The point is these people who have this gall and this huge corporation—shouldn’t they have the brains to find some place where everybody can have a beer? You know, that’s silly. It’s just Peking silly! ! ! And we want to include all the people who come to see us. Maybe I’m just being ignorant. I don’t know if there’s a place like that, but it seems like there would be somewhere in Canada! I mean, I know people like to drink some beers in Canada… (laughter) Is your music a way for kids to let out their frustrations through your music? F*ck, I hope so, man.

Or does it enhance it? Both. I mean, well, that’s fine. Heavy music and that rock ‘n’ roll thing, you know it always has been there. People have always fought against it and they used to burn the records and they still do. I mean they play it backwards and say, “Satan.” F*ck, it’s silly. The music is heavy and fast, it’s played with aggression. It’s meant to be mirrored by aggression, answered by aggression.

We’re not saying go out and hurt somebody on purpose because your Peking wacky. But that’s part of the thing—the juice. That’s why people dig the music. It’s the juice, man. It lets you go, it’s a little bit of an escape. I don’t promote violence. I don’t dig that I mean, it’s not cool if somebody goes and listens to the record and goes out and steals a car and crashes into a wall or-something. I’m not for that shit The reason we like the bands we like, that we’re fans of—Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, the people who taught us—is that we went there and got wacky and busted each other in the head. I mean that’s what it’s all about when the music’s happening. Or even in your room—jumping around is cool. Doesn’t mean you do something stupid.

What advice or warning would you give young people trying to get into the music business? Listen to it as much as possible. Filter it in your own way. There’s so much to listen to; you never are going to have enough time in your lifetime to enjoy all the cool music there is to enjoy. Everything’s not for everybody. I mean I don’t like country music. I can only listen to a couple of bars. A couple of rap bands are really great and I’ll listen to them. But overall, I like heavy music and I like blues music. The other things I dabble in, but that’s the stuff I dig.

So the idea is you find something you like and go for that Don’t close your mind. Expand it to other things. When somebody gives you a CD or says, “Have you heard of those guys,” don’t go, “Oh, they suck,” or, “Too many people like them.” It’s silly. Give everything a chance and then if you don’t like it turn it off and go on to something else.

But the best thing to do is to learn from other people, play with as many people as you can, whether they’re better than you or worse than you. You’re always going to learn something from them whether they’re less accomplished or not.

(Will Nicholls) So can I get a photo of you autographing my chest? Are you f*cking crazy, man? (laughter)… Well, let me get a good marker since I’m signing flesh.