Why the Hell We Didn't Hear the Bass on Metallica's '…and Justice for All'?

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In a New Interview, Co-Producer Flemming Rasmussen Says Who's to Blame for Newsted's Missing 'Brilliant Bass Tracks'

For decades, Metallica fans and metal heads around the world have been discussing this question. Where did the bass guitar go on Metallica’s lovable ‘…And Justice For All’ album? Many rumours and theories have been published in the past. A recent Rolling Stone interview with co-producer Flemming Rasmussen sheds some light on the subject. 

‘…And Justice For All’ was Metallica’s first LP recorded with bassist Jason Newsted, after the passing of Cliff Burton. It is well known that Newsted did record all the bass parts on the album, but for some reason, they are almost not to be heard on the master recording. 

“Jason is one hell of a bass player," Said Rasmussen to Rolling Stone, “I’m probably one of the only people in the world, including Jason and Toby Wright, the assistant engineer, who heard the bass tracks on …And Justice for All, and they are fucking brilliant. They were nixed in the mix. It's not on the mixing engineers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero, that's for sure. It was Lars and James who said to turn the bass down. I know that for a fact because I asked them.

“Jason was always more or less was the new kid. I actually had him practice bass when me and Lars would be doing drums. And I'd ask Toby to do some bass sounds with Jason to run it through a few times, and we'd go, 'This is great. This is not great. Do this, do that.' And we'd let them bang it out after we'd left for the night. While we went to sleep, he was actually doing some of his bass tracks. We'd listen to them the next day, I feel and I think the general feeling in the band is that he was never treated with the respect that he deserved."