Jason Newsted: James Hetfield's Pyro Accident Saved Metallica | Revolver

Jason Newsted: James Hetfield's Pyro Accident Saved Metallica

"It really is a moment that somehow saved and refueled our band"

At a Montreal show on August 8th, 1992, Metallica's future was temporarily put into jeopardy when James Hetfield was severely burned during a pyro incident that happened while they were performing "Fade to Black." The band ended up stopping the show while their frontman was whisked away by medics, and though he ultimately recovered, he did sustain second and third degree burns on his arm. 

In a new four-part video series with So What! editor Steffan Chirazi, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted has been opening up about his time in the band — from wild tour stories to his frugal spending of the money he earned from the "Black Album"'s chart-topping sales. However, in episode four, he also goes into comprehensive detail about the night Hetfield was burned, how the band reacted behind the scenes and how that experience brought them closer together at a time in their career when they seriously needed it. 

"That accident brought us together to a place that I don't think would have ever happened unless an incident like that...James was fucking heroic, dude," Newsted said, as transcribed by Loudwire. "Straight up, he was heroic. You know how one little burn from the teapot hurts? That was his whole fucking arm. Come on."

"It really is a moment that somehow saved and refueled our band," he clarified. "We were distraught, Kirk and I were tripping. Lars wasn't even in the dressing room [after it happened]. He just had a towel over his head. Kirk and I were trying to still be upright. We were wondering, wondering, wondering."

After four grueling hours of waiting to learn about their bandmate's condition, Newsted said that their tour manager, Tony Smith, returned from the hospital and delivered them the good news.  "He's going to be fine, he's going to be okay, he's tough as fuck," Newsted recalled Smith saying. "The only thing he wanted to know was when we're playing again."

"We didn't even know if we'd ever get to play again with him," Newsted said while laughing. "Yeah, he was on morphine and whatever the fuck else, but he was still him...his gumption, his toughness, that insisted that we get back to the people right fucking now."

"We regrouped behind him, in support of him, through brotherly love," he continued. "Absolute brotherly love. It was more important that he was well than anything else, but he already came out, 'Let's fucking go.' He was already there. There was no 'poor fucking me.' Because of that—because our leader showed that kind of fire—we were more than happy to get behind him like never before...I knew I was going to have to step up and do a couple more things. We all knew that and we stepped right into it."

Watch the full interview above and check out the other three parts of the So What! interview series below.