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.”
Newsted left Metallica in 2001 after 14 years, and told us a while back what went wrong during that time: “Nobody ever wanted to speak up and rock the boat, throw a wrench into the machine. Y'know, it was just rolling like a freaking tank over everything that came in its way, and nobody ever wanted to mess with that really. And so emotions, feelings, personal stuff, all that was kind of buried in the hole, wherever they buried it, inside themselves or somewhere else, y'know? Then people started realizing the value of things.”