Megadeth Press Articles


So Far, So Good... So Mega! :: Marty Friedman's Stepping Stone :: Clash of the Titans - Mighty Megadeth :: I'm a Rock Star, OK? :: The Big Four :: Rust Never Sleeps :: Good Times, Bad Times, Dave Times :: Clash of the Titans :: The Secrets of Hangar 18 :: Simply Symphonic :: Deth Metal! :: Love it to 'Deth! :: A Kinder, Gentler... Megadeth :: RIP Reader's Poll Winner - Best Album: Countdown to Extinction :: I Was Dead and They Brought Me Back! :: Godzilla vs. Megadeth :: Tour of Consequences :: Mustaine Mouths Off :: MD.45 - The Mustaine Side Project :: There's a Lot of Fire on This Album! :: Dethspotting :: Megadeth: Secret Mission :: At the Start It Was About Revenge :: Escaping Capitol Punishment to Reach Sanctuary :: Megadeth's Really Over!

The Secrets of Hangar 18

taken from Metal Hammer, April 1991
by Chris Welch


Megadeth's supremo bares his soul in a remarkable interview.

Megadeth, the band born out of the molten metal turmoil of the Eighties seemed in danger of expiring when its founder member, fiery Dave Mustaine, succumbed to serious health problems.

After a fight against drink and drugs, the composer, guitarist and singer, revived both his health, spirits and the band to return last year with the remarkable Rust in Peace album. On the eve of their British tour, we spoke to Mustaine while he was on holiday in Hawaii. He was just about to get married and talked with a calmness and contentment that only occasionally seemed threatened by that burning intensity which is a hallmark of his remarkable personality.

Most of the songs on Rust in Peace were calling for peace and many assumed they were written around the time the war with Iraq began looming. Mustaine quickly set us right.

"A lot of the stuff was written way prior to anything that involved actual fighting. 'Holy Wars' was about the IRA and my shooting my mouth off, the last time I was in Ireland. The title track 'Rust in Peace' was written prior to my being in Metallica. The songs aren't as young as people take them for yet people think I jumped on the bandwagon because I knew that there was a war coming."


Fear

Rust in Peace is full of fascinating ideas and concepts and I had to admit that Megadeth albums had the power to put the fear of God into me. Far more so than any ridiculous 'death thrash' album, where the lyrics usually plunge into depths on banality. Mustaine lyrics, particularly on songs like "Poison Was the Cure," "Tornado of Souls," the brilliant pastiche "Dawn Patrol" and the immensely powerful "Rust in Peace... Polaris," with its chilling line...

"Immense in my girth, erect I stand tall, I am a nuclear murderer. I am Polaris ready to pounce at the touch of a button." Here was poetry armed with a deadly, scathing, vituperative anger. Was he aware of his power to shake others out of complacency?

Dave stayed silent for a while as he pondered my question. "I don't really set out to try and instill fear in people," he said at length, "so much as try to purvey my feelings about social awareness. As far as religion is concerned, I'm not very religious. I'm more on a spiritual wavelength. As far as using God to instill fear in people, well it takes something like a war for people to realize that God has been here all along. There is something we can pray to, even if it's just an icon. I have come to realize that Armageddon is something that is living over our heads in an impending black cloud of doom. The eventuality of the end of the world is something we can't put our finger on, at least as far as a date goes, but as long as you are aware of it, and you can live life to the fullest, and you won't be caught with your pants down when it happens!"

Dave had been thought a lot in his personal life in recent years. Had he changed his views or mellowed his beliefs and opinions?

"I don't know. You have the new album in your hands. What do you think?"

In my view Mustaine is as strong and powerful a writer as ever, but I did detect some changes, perhaps a more worldly view was emerging, with less caustic snipes at the individual.

"I think the material is still as strong and opinionated, but its taking a turn towards a more positive light. It's still ostentatious yet its promoting a little bit more of the positive side of life. I'm not going to say I'm shunning my pessimistic opinions and I feel that a lot of pessimism is always healthy because you need good with bad and you need black with white, you need Satan with God and you need good with evil, and if you weren't pessimistic you couldn't be optimistic."

Rust in Peace was probably Megadeth's best ever album and Dave now had the best band he'd ever got together. Did he agree?

"Well, I think this line up is a more cohesive unit than we'd had in the past, due to the fact that we communicate quite a lot. This unit understands what the direction is because the members of this the band have been into metal. For example the previous line-up... well let's regress to the first line-up."

He described early members Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson as two jazz players. "Didn't know a thing about heavy metal, didn't know a thing about thrash metal. In the second line up Jeff Young knew nothing about heavy metal or thrash and he thought it w as something to do with the Sex Pistols. He was a bit of an odd one. He was a good guitar player, but not a good thrash guitarist. His new band is good but there is a lot of pouting lips and hairsprays - I think that's what Jeff wanted all along. Megadeth were a little bit harsher than what he wanted. Anyways - enough of slagging."

"This line up right now has Marty Friedman who was in a band called Hawaii many moons ago, and he was also in Vixen and Cacophony with Jason Becker. So Marty knows what the guitar is about, yet he also comes from the thrash school. I don't have to explain to him what the New Wave Of British heavy metal was, because he knows. All that was a major influence on my life, I can't explain to people how important that period of time was for me and the influence it had on my playing. Not very many people were there Chris - face it, I mean, I'm almost thirty years old. How old are you? Well, there you go, you are aware of Tank, the Tygers of Pang Tang, Diamond Head, Iron Maiden... To me that was when a lot of the stuff was really instrumental in forming the riff app roach towards writing a song."

Was life much easier for Dave now he had a band he could work with?

"Well put it this way, I'm getting married on Sunday [March 3], and that's how comfortable I am with this band. Things are going so smooth I'm not worried about the band anymore, so I'm taking the giant plunge. It's like taking a step out of an airplane. Skydiving is like a walk in the park compared to taking a jump into marriage."

Astonishingly Dave is a member of the United States Parachuting Association. I say astonishingly because it's something I could never imagine myself doing. Climbing up a step ladder is bad enough, let alone jumping out of a plane. How did he manage his first jump - was he pushed?

"No, I was completely up for it. As a matter of fact I made the jump here in Hawaii. I need that adrenalin surge now I have stopped my chemical substance abuse. I am finding my highs in different formats. And its definitely paying off. It's tapped the natural adrenalin I was capable of creating in the first place. Not only that, it's helping me realize I had the capability of being free from drugs and alcohol a long time ago. I realize how fabulous the human body and mind is, and there are other ways t o stimulate yourself than doing heroin or cocaine."

Did this whole period of substance abuse creep up on Dave without his being fully aware of it?

"I think it was evident to me it was happening yet in a way I set myself up for it. If I had been able to understand from the beginning that I would be incapable of going a day without drinking a beer, or smoking a joint, I would have realized I had a drug problem. Yet I felt that because I wasn't doing heroin, doing pot or alcohol I wasn't that bad. As soon as I was turned onto it, I was so used to being loaded everyday I felt 'Oh this is no big deal, I can handle this.' It changed from drug use to drug abuse, to drug addiction.

I'm coming up to ten months of being free from drugs and alcohol, and nine months of not smoking cigarettes, and for Dave Mustaine that is quite an advance."

Dave went to ten hospitals and spent thousands of dollars to get cured.

"You just have to admit you have a drugs problem and if you really want to get help - you have to ask." says Dave.

Was "Poison Was The Cure" a most tormented lyric, written about that period?

"Yup. The title itself is a paradox. Some people - I ask them, 'What do you think the song is about?' And they say: 'Oh yeah, it's about a blow job.' And I think 'You fucking idiot! Listen to the words. It's about me having a serious bout with drug addiction."

"Pulling out the poison fangs, the venom never goes away..."

"It's about the wanting and the needing. I still want it, I would still love to get high," said Dave beginning to frighteningly intense.

"But it's so much cooler for me. I'm successful and drugs wouldn't be able to replace that. I wouldn't want to sacrifice my life now for anything."


Happy Times

But now to happier things. Megadeth seem to have been working continuously since the return of Mustaine and his long term friend and cohort David Ellefson, with their new band.

"Yes we all have been working hard. A lot of people were very disappointed with our inconsistency 'live'. Now things aren't hit or miss. You see Megadeth one night, you are gonna see the same thing the next night. There might be variance in my performance on guitar, but as a band we get better and better every night because we listen to each other. It's not three guys trying to outgun each other."

Megadeth have been working solidly since September 5, 1990 and they've taken time off only for a brief holiday and to film the video for "Hangar 18". The film has a lot of special effects and Dave hopes it will encourage more people to see the depth of Megadeth's music and ideas.

"If 'Hangar 18' proves to be as prophetic as 'Holy Wars' was, then God help us!" he snaps.

So what is inside 'Hangar 18'?

"Aliens' failed mutations from cross breeding aliens and humans. The story is based on hearsay. But the only alien I've ever seen in my life was a couple of months ago when I got up in the morning - but that was looking in the mirror! As far as knowing whether the creatures inside 'Hangar 18' really exist, that is going to be left entirely up to your imagination. There is a movie out called 'Hangar 18' and it's very contrived and very silly. We are looking at this more in terms of a documentary."

Megadeth are now due in the UK for their tour. When we spoke, Dave was really looking forward to playing in Europe again, and added: "We're going back to Ireland. When we last went there we were all junkies and I had run out of heroin, so we were all drunk and weren't being very friendly and we weren't being very good musicians. It was one of those days. We were being spat on and if that happens to me again we are just going to have to evaluate whether it's worth it for us to go to Ireland. But I was drunk when I went there last, and I know my behavior was responsible for the way things happened. This time I'm going there sober, and I hope the show will turn out better and that I can repair my relationship with the Irish following.


So Far, So Good... So Mega! :: Marty Friedman's Stepping Stone :: Clash of the Titans - Mighty Megadeth :: I'm a Rock Star, OK? :: The Big Four :: Rust Never Sleeps :: Good Times, Bad Times, Dave Times :: Clash of the Titans :: The Secrets of Hangar 18 :: Simply Symphonic :: Deth Metal! :: Love it to 'Deth! :: A Kinder, Gentler... Megadeth :: RIP Reader's Poll Winner - Best Album: Countdown to Extinction :: I Was Dead and They Brought Me Back! :: Godzilla vs. Megadeth :: Tour of Consequences :: Mustaine Mouths Off :: MD.45 - The Mustaine Side Project :: There's a Lot of Fire on This Album! :: Dethspotting :: Megadeth: Secret Mission :: At the Start It Was About Revenge :: Escaping Capitol Punishment to Reach Sanctuary :: Megadeth's Really Over!

The Realms of Deth
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