Former Metallica Bassist to Appear at … the Colony Palm Beach?

Photo by Bill Meredith

Pictured above, photo of Jason Newsted by Bill Meredith

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County recently announced its 2017-2018 season of “Culture & Cocktails” guest-speaker events. A cursory glance at the schedule makes for a fun game of “which of these things is not like the others?”

“Culture & Cocktails” events are upscale affairs celebrating the loftiest arts, often operating on the nexus of culture, economics and politics, where esteemed Cultural Council members interview their immaculately spoken kin in august settings. So I had to commit a double take when I read the name of the second speaker of the season. Jason Newsted, the bassist for Metallica from 1986 to 2001, will speak on “Heavy Perspectives: From Metallica to Modern Art” on Jan. 8, 2018. I hope the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach, where the events will take place, is prepared to welcome the faded-T-shirt-and-ripped-jeans crowd.

While I’ve admittedly outgrown Metallica, it was a formative band from my youth: During the ‘80s and ‘90s, nobody evolved into punk, post-punk and indie rock without starting with Metallica. And Newsted performed with the band during its commercial peak, 1991’s self-titled “black album” and its landmark predecessor, …And Justice for All.

Newsted has since become a visual artist—the influence of Jean Debuffet and Basquiat is evident in his earthen, occasionally frenzied and primitive paintings—which is more the Cultural Council’s bailiwick. But by booking a heavy metal bassist, the Council is admirably extending its wheelhouse to musical forms normally left to rock promoters. It’s a validation, in a roundabout way perhaps, that hard rock is culture. Pretty cool, huh?

The rest of the “Culture & Cocktails” schedule will feature:

“Putting it Together: A Conversation about the Birth & Growth of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County,” with legendary benefactor Alexander W. Dreyfoos and former Council Board Chair George T. Elmore (Nov. 6)

“Behind the Embassy Door: A Conversation with Edward Elson, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark,” who helped create National Public Radio (Feb. 5)

“Shining Bright: The Eternal Allure of Silver,” in which Michael James, owner and founder of The Silver Fund, will discuss his worldwide dealings in estate silver and its relationship to the art and antiques market (March 5)

“Let Me Entertain You,” which welcomes the heads of Palm Beach Opera and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches (April 2)

For more information, visit or call 561/471-2901.