According to Metallica’s “performance coach” Phil Towle, a former psychotherapist, the band’s ex-bassist Jason Newsted did not want to leave Metallica in 2001. Towle’s time guiding the band in 2003 coincided with Metallica’s first sessions after Newsted’s exit. During an appearance on . . . And Podcast For All! , Towle shed light on the situation that led to Newsted and Metallica parting ways after 14 years, with Blabbermouth quoting Towle as saying, “I don’t think (Jason) wanted to leave the band. I think he wanted to leave the reality of what existed. And this was the only way he could start to do something with it. And that triggered a whole bunch of things. That contributed to ultimately James (Hetfield), months later, going into rehab.” Towle went on to explain, “It wasn’t the exact fact, but if you look at the overarching life of Metallica and you see that they were trashing each other in Playboy magazine, in that interview, and you see then a month later they come in, or maybe two months later they come in — January of 2001, I think — and there’s this kind of animosity, that Jason is acting out. He’s the identified patient of the therapy, so he’s acting this act. And then the fight ensued.”

He added: “They were all jarred so much that a family member for 14 years was leaving for various reasons. They said, ‘We gotta do something about this.’ Here’s what I offered: Rather than invest energy in being pissed at Jason, use this thing to explore the underlying issues of discomfort and conflict that led to his leaving. In a very dysfunctional family, Jason had the courage to stand up. He was the one who set in motion this process of calling everyone out.”


  • Back in 2013, Jason Newsted told NY Hard Rock Examiner that it was his departure from the band in 2001 that was a catalyst for the group to stay together in the long run.
  • Following Newsted’s exit, frontman James Hetfield checked into rehab for an extended stay and the album that was being recorded at the time was abandoned.
  • Newsted explained, “I had to be the one that stepped up and made the sacrifice for everybody. . . because I did what I did, they’re more successful than they’ve ever been, they still set the standard, James is healthier than he’s ever been in his entire life. I’m clear-eyed again, I’m off drugs, I’m 19-years-old again. I got more years under my belt and I’m still the same fighting weight I was on any of my tours.”

CHECK IT OUT: Metallica on why Jason Newsted left: