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Metallica Bassist Talks Rx Addiction and "Rebirth"

Jason Newsted has recovered after a severe injury led to an addiction to painkillers.

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Newsted is back in action. Photo via

By Liam Delaney

01/14/13

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Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted has opened up about getting hooked on prescription painkillers after sustaining a severe shoulder injury in 2006. He was injured while attempting to catch a falling bass amp and damaged both of his shoulders, forcing him to undergo numerous surgeries and many years of rehab to regain use of both his hands. "When I had my shoulder surgeries, they took over a three-and-a-half to four-year span, back and forth, left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder right shoulder," Newsted says. "With complete bicep tears and rotator cuff tears and very ugly rehab and therapy. Painkiller addiction, the whole deal." The bassist says he managed to kick pills and, while on hiatus from music, turned his attention to painting as a way to cope. "I only had one arm at a time, so I started painting," he says. "Now I can use both hands equally for everything. That's how the art came. I had to have something to do because I could not play my instrument." The bassist, who left Metallica 11 years ago, has recently returned to music and released a new EP as part of a new project called Newsted. “I’m not taking anything for granted,” he says. “This is like a rebirth. I don’t have to start over again. I just start from where I stepped off, which happened to be the peak of the highest mountain you could climb in metal."

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