Soldierhead

Album: Heavy Metal Music (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • Newsted is a Metal band led by former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted, who is joined by guitar players Jessie Farnsworth and Mike Mushok, and drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. Jason wrote the song, which he told us is about "standing up for what you believe in, and being willing to give your life for what you believe in."

    The lyric was inspired by Pat Tillman, a football player for the Arizona Cardinals who left the sport in the prime of his career to join the Army in 2002. He was killed in Afghanistan, in what was later determined to be friendly fire. Said Newsted: "He was a gifted person; always could jump higher and run faster than everybody and wanted to use those abilities to protect what he believed in."
  • Jason Newsted resisted digital recording technology for a long time, but when his wife gave him her old iPad with an early version of GarageBand installed, it became his preferred method for writing songs, as it was much more convenient than his Tascam tape machine.

    Certain riffs come suddenly to Newsted, and when this one hit, he had the iPad ready. Said Jason: "'Soldierhead' was one of those that the riff came right away. It just showed up, and I got it on my iPad, that first quick riff, and started building from there. The composition probably came together in less than an hour on the iPad as far as the puzzle pieces."
  • This song spread in very grass roots fashion. Someone Jason Newsted knew from his Metallica days gave a copy of it to the influential Metal journalist Eddie Trunk, who played it on his syndicated radio show. The positive response convinced the band to release the track as part of a 4-song EP called Metal on iTunes. A few months later, the full album was released, all without any traditional marketing.

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