Contact Us

The Missing Bass on Metallica’s ‘…And Justice for All’ Explained by Mixer Steve Thompson [Exclusive]

Subscribe to Q103 on

One of the longest running questions in metal history has been, “Where is the bass on Metallica‘s …And Justice for All?” We recently had a chance to speak with one of the key figures in this mystery, Steve Thompson, who was responsible for mixing the album.

Thompson has held firm over the years that he’s not exactly thrilled with the mix, but that it was his job to do what the band wanted. But to get to the crux of what happened to the bass, you first have to look at the mix for the drums on the album.

Lars [Ulrich] has a specific way in which he wanted his drums to sound. He would actually send me pictures of an EQ setup,” explained Thompson, who admitted he was taken aback after hearing where things stood after fellow mixer Michael Barbiero had set up the room per Lars’ instructions.

“I chased everybody out of the room and I think they had [James] Hetfield in the room, and I changed the drum sound to be more what I was hearing, and then put on the bass and guitars and stuff like that,” recalls Thompson. “The thing about Jason [Newsted]‘s parts, they were in perfect rhythm with James’ guitars. It was a great marriage that worked out great.”

After Thompson put his mix together, it didn’t take long for Ulrich to find an issue. “He says, ‘Stop tape. I’ve got a problem. What happened to my drum sound?’ And I basically said, ‘You were serious?,” recalls Thompson. Not only did he ask Thompson to adhere to his drum sound, he also requested that he drop Jason Newsted’s bass to where it was barely audible.

Thompson said he was a huge fan of the band, but the direction was not something he had envisioned and he had actually asked out of the project but was eventually convinced to stay.

Years later, Thompson can laugh about it a little bit and had a fun yet absurd moment with Lars Ulrich at the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction: “I’m hanging out with Lars and Lars came up to me and said, ‘We did have bass on that record, didn’t we?’ … And I said, ‘You’re kidding me. You’re absolutely kidding me.’”

Watch Steve Thompson discussing the mixing of the …And Justice for All album in the player above.

Jason Newsted Reflects on Metallica’s … And Justice for All

Subscribe to Q103 on

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://q103albany.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Rock-A-Holics quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Rock-A-Holics contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.