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!

I Was Dead and They Brought Me Back!

taken from Metal Hammer, November 1994
by Katherine Turman

We knew that Dave Mustaine was no normal person, but we didn't realize he'd been over to "the other side". As Megadeth prepare for the release of their Youthanasia album, Katherine Turman explores the Mustaine mind. Hold on, kids...

Dave Mustaine likes to talk - can't help it, really - even if it sometimes lands him trouble. This particular day finds the red-maned singer-guitarist ensconced in Megadeth's custom built studio, housed inside a warehouse building in a seedy area of Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona - land of the retired folk in pastel clothing, Sepultura, and golf courses - is Mustaine's and bassist David Ellefson's new home, far from the madding crowd of Los Angeles. But despite his new, happier surroundings, Dave is clearly plagued by the old demons, some semi-exorcised and all in the process of thereof. And he willingly airs much of his dirty laundry; but not, this time, the topic of his on-again sobriety ("Never again. That's very personal").

And on his busy and bright mind this particular Friday, mixing day for Youthanasia, the band's new record due at the end of October? Plenty, including his family tree, the French language, near-death experiences, underwear and, of course, music, which is mellower than expected on the couple of tracks I heard that day.

And sometimes the topics are all tied together, as is the case with the song "A Tout Le Monde", where he utilizes some nicely accented French ("I'm French by descent," Mustaine explains). "It's real different," the singer allows about the track. "It's a departure. It's still us, though. I mean, you can still tell it's Megadeth."

In the song, a sort of melancholic, reminiscent farewell, Mustaine sings, "My life passed before my eyes/I found out how little I accomplished/All my plans denied".

Doesn't he have pride about Megadeth's many accomplishments?

"To some degree I have some pride about that, but to me my pride had been one of my biggest personal defects," he admits. "I still feel that there's a lot that I need to accomplish. And I know that by me coming so close to dying last year, that, well, what would I have explained if I was sitting up in heaven strumming a guitar - 'Yeah, I was just about to make it real big when I fucked up and got loaded and died?' You know, you're sitting there talking to half of Kurt Cobain's head."

Ouch! But given Mustaine's much-spoken-about belief in God, it would probably be safe to say that, had it not been for the grace of God, the singer might have joined Cobain in that great graveyard in the sky. "They took me to the emergency room and I was dead when I got there, and they brought me back," says Mustaine forthrightly.

And there's a song that seems somehow to refer to the disease. Mustaine suffers from - addiction. The cut, aptly enough, is titled "Addicted to Chaos". "The fucking irony of that song is that the subject in it is my drug counselor who got me sober," relates Mustaine. "When he said that I would walk alone, it was after counseling me for a period of time. And he said: 'You know I'm gonna have to cut you loose some day.' The finality of it was two puncture wounds in his arm and an overdose of heroin. My drug counselor overdosed. No one's safe from that disease... This isn't a sobriety interview," he says abruptly.

So how did the emergency room revive Mustaine?

"I don't know what they did. They made a deal with God, I guess."

And what bargain did Mr. Mustaine have to strike with the Big Guy to earn another chance?

"Maybe not to trash dressing rooms anymore?" he replies somewhat sarcastically. "I don't know. My deal is no deal, because I'm already deeply indebted to my Creator. I'm not just like one of those armchair quarterbacks or a weekend warrior. You know, my faith has been restored in a Creator who has given me a lot of good stuff. I mean, the gift I have in me is like I'm better at writing music for this particular genre than just about anybody. There's only a couple other musicians that write music for this genre who are equivalent to me."

And that would be?

Mustaine grins somewhat evilly. "Figure it out for yourself. There a lot of people out there that are real similar to me and that probably played with me at one time or another. There's a clue. And particularly with this type music style. You know, we've got so many bastard children put there that we've spawned into this music business. Whether by sponsorship, by endorsement, by influence or by abandonment."

As for the members of his own band, things are on the upswing following the band's publiced internal difficulties. The vocalist - who in conversation often refers warmly to his son (Justis, who is running around the studio), wife and faith - admits he's a pretty happy guy of late.

"I'm waiting for my shit to be gold cupcakes," he says about the current joyful state of affairs. "You know, I keep thinking that it's not going to get any better and it just keeps getting better. Now I kind of look at these superstars that a re miserable and I think, 'Gee, that's how I must have seemed'. Now it's like I get stopped this morning twice to sign autographs within the course of 10 minutes. I expect one of these days to be driving down the road with my finger up my snoot and someone take a picture of me diggin' my nose. You know, 'Oh, I got a picture of Dave...!' It's just one of those things where my privacy is starting to be compromised."

"My wife decided to take all of the curtains off our house and put shutters up," he continues. "Little did I know that there was going to be nine weeks with no curtains. So if I get up in the middle of the night and I got to pee, and I'm running to the bathroom naked and there's flashes and it's not lightning, I'm gonna be really bummed."

Despite his seemingly content demeanor, he's still as intense as he's always been, and remains where he wants (has?) to be in: charge. Still, Mustaine says he encouraged the other band members to bring in material they've worked up outside of the band - as long as it's deemed good by Mustaine standards.

"If you're not bringing dog shit into the room..." is how Mustaine analogizes the judging of new material from the boys in the band. "I mean, it smells, everyone notices, and they try to act coy and everybody's kind of hemming and hawing as to who is gonna tell you that it stinks. There's been a lot of times stuff has come in that has been pretty downright horrible. But music's a process. Some of this stuff would be great for a pop band or an industrial band or something like that, but that's why we need to have some creative control, quality control. Thank God I'm the one in charge of that, that it's consistently one person. The record would sound very different if I wasn't in charge."

The sound of Youthanasia's 12 cuts, as captured by producer Max Norman, is intense, but overall seemingly more subdued and more commercial than past efforts in its musical attack. Megadeth recorded basic tracks the old-fashioned way - the three stringed instruments in the control room surrounding Norman, drums in the adjacent drum room; while Mustaine wrote lion's share of the lyrics (and has sole music and lyrical credit on seven of the tracks).

So it's not exactly a democracy. And are there often times when it's three versus one?

"Yeah," laughs Mustaine, "but my one equals three, so were all even! It's like a tetrarchy. We have to think about what our motives are for this stuff. If it's just getting your riff into the song then you have to question whether or not you want to stay in this band, because it's not about songwriting and publishing. As you can see, I've given credit for two words (David Ellefson came up with the words 'Reckoning Day', which became the song title). To me, that's just ink when it comes down to the end of the day. And you see a lot bands who will break up over shit like that. I'm getting paid the way I should be paid, the band's getting paid the way they should be paid. We're getting adulation from our fans, which is more important than money. When we start writing music for money, then it's time to hang it up, because, one, as soon as you start making more money you start spending more money. You change from driving a car that uses regular to premium. Your zip code changes. You still love macaroni and cheese, but I find myself spending a little more on food now," says Mustaine, clearly on a roll. "Too many cooks spoil the broth, you know that old saying? We're all good cooks, but this isn't like one of those food courts where you can get four different things at once."

And speaking of food, Mustaine orders lunch, and notes that one of the things he misses about LA is the restaurants and coffee houses. He left Los Angeles before the big earthquake in January 1994, so he wasn't a part of the post-quake mass exodus. And while at first he thought the relocation was to escape from the pressures of Los Angeles, now he's not sure. Aha, a rare topic that Mustaine is not quite firm on.

"You know I said the move was [to escape from the madding crowd]... I don't even know anymore now. I think it was the direction I was forced into. I don't know if you're ever read the book The Celestine Prophecy. It's about how destiny is letting yourself go with the flow, and fate is interfering and changing it. I think it was my destiny to do that. Because I went up to northern Arizona to go get myself sorted out, I was so far gone when I got there, after eight days of being there I finally recognized what had happened. I looked out the window and said: 'Fuck, I'm in the middle of desert. What am I doing here?' I thought I was reincarnated as a coyote or something like that. I was just having one of those really bad Doors flashbacks. Then I got to really like it, 'cause it's hot, it's dry, it's scenic, it's rustic. It's America."

While Mustaine is disarmingly, pleasingly candid, it sometimes seems he's too willing to lay all his cards on the table. Any regrets about being so open?

The answer is quick: "No, I don't regret nothing. There's nothing I've done. I've got to think twice about getting myself kicked out of Metallica, but I don't regret the point that James [Hetfield] kicked my dog and I smacked him and got fired. You know, it's like cause and effect. It was a juggernaut, you know, it's like if you eat chicken vindaloo and get the runs," he analogizes. "It was just something that happened. Everything that I've done I've been responsible for," Mustaine concludes. "Being of sound mind when I do it, how could I regret it? I mean, there are certain things and times when I've taken advantage of learning from. And I'm grateful for the learning experience and I regret nothing."

What's Dave Mustaine really like?

David Ellefson:

"Dave is a great visionary. The thing about it is that so much focus on Dave has been put upon what he says, and I think he's musical talent as a songwriter and producer, and a singer and guitarist have been overlooked. Most of the press you read is slagging him for something he's said rather than taking a look at the music he writes."

"I've seen Dave go from being a very angry person who'd just left Metallica, to having a serious drive for success because of that, to now being not only the leader of Megadeth but also being a father and a husband and a golf partner. For me, in the years that I've known him, I've seen him go through a lot. The thing about Dave is that when he makes up his mind that he wants something, he just goes and does it. He doesn't second guess himself, he never questions it, he just goes ahead and doe s it, and that's the times when there can be conflict from other people. All I've got to say that I'm glad I'm on Dave's team and not playing against Dave's team."

Marty Friedman:

"A lot of it is when you separate what the press says from real life, the real life is completely different. They blow up a lot of things about what he says and not his achievements so much. What he says is so colorful and so interesting that of course the press is going to bring it straight out. He talks so interestingly."

"To me he would have been one of the guys I would have hung around with in high school, smoking pot and playing guitar together. The same with David [Ellefson] here. If Mustaine had been at my school we would have gravitated towards each other, found each other, and been sitting in a room blaring Black Sabbath albums and smoking dope. Basically what kids do in high school. I try to think of us on that level now more than ever. We're friends doing it for the same reason - because we think it's cool playing kick-ass rock music. We have a lot of common in that sense, and then again we're about two of the most different people you could hope to meet as well."

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!

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