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!

Good Times, Bad Times, Dave Times

taken from RIP, November 1990
by Steffan Chirazi


For about six-and-a-half years now, Megadeth has been an intriguing enigma; a mysterious-yet-superb concoction of chemicals that didn't always match but was always guaranteed to create a big bang. Their mystery is not down to any cheap marketing tactics t hat a corporate mind has shat from a large executive desk; no, theirs is an altogether more dangerous variety. Volatile, aggressive, cautious and untrusting, Megadeth have all but let that finger-grip on the cliff edge slip away more than once. That they always manage to climb back, find the strength to pull themselves out of danger and go on is testimony to the grit and determination within Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson. A word about drugs: Yes, both Daves were addicts. It's not a fact they hide from, but it isn't one they champion either. But as you find your way through both men, you'll see that there is a bigger picture behind the dips and swerves Megadeth has taken.

Personnel around the two have turned over and over again, and the lineup now stands with guitarist Marty Friedman (formerly of the band Cacophony) and drummer Nick Menza, who has been in and around the Megadeth camp for quite a while. There is also new management in the shape of Lipman-Kahane and Ron Laffitte. For the first time in an age, Megadeth are back with the chance of a real strong shot once more.

The atmosphere at Rumbo Studios may seem tranquil, but the pressure is evident. I probably shouldn't be here (a fact Dave Mustaine points out the next day), but nonetheless Mustaine finds time to immediately take some hard questions square on the chin. I ask Dave what he's consciously aware of since he last heavily involved in the industry.

"I'm aware that a lotta shitty bands made it since our last record! I have a CD player in my car, so I really don't listen to radio too much. I watch MTV to see the bimbos, I hear what's out, but the music that's out now is so pompous. It's like some moron got a guitar chord book and wrote a bunch of sing-along lullabies. Everything sounds as though Desmond Child wrote it. The same shit just keeps bubbling over, a melting pot of snot. These little baby kids with their leather and grommets and sequins and rhinestones, I dunno how they get as popular as they do. I guess there's just a lack of good material around. But that's gonna be terminated very soon. The hairspray boys are gonna have their reign of terror terminated."

I wondered if Mustaine had learned to deal any better with comments (positive or negative) regarding his work.

He laughs and admits that he really isn't that into answering questions regarding his own confidence. Nonetheless, he does. "I myself don't have much self-esteem. I had a raging ego, but no esteem, and I'm cultivating self-esteem right now by having a band I believe in, as opposed to having to take the whole weight of the world on my shoulders and knowing that I had wannabes in the band. I am, of course, not talking about David Ellefson. I mean past members that I would have to stifle mid-interview. The music is the most important thing."

I've seen Megadeth play the best and worst of live shows. What was it that made the bad shows so bad?

"It was down to internal pressure within the band. There was dissension in the ranks, and I would choose to escape reality because I just wasn't happy with the line-up. There would be one guy I couldn't count on, and another who was a sneaky s hitball. Now everybody who's in the band is relatively on the same wavelength as far as dedication to their instrument is concerned. I know I can rely on them to do what has to be done, as opposed to coming here and finding someone perched over a mirror while there's tape running in the studio."

"I mean, when things are bad, everything's bad; and when things are good, it's all great. I just have to roll with the punches. When I'm not happy with something or someone, it wreaks havoc, and the turmoil is evident and present in everything I do. A lot of times I have to stop and regroup and just try to understand people for how they are instead of who they are; take them on face value instead of trying to mold them to my expectations. Right now the people in this lineup are very independent. I've never been able to relax and rely on anybody before, but Nick did a great job in the studio. I wasn't even here when Marty did his rhythm tracks. I think this album is a very good representation of where the band's at right now, of the personalities within the band exploited musically."

When was it that Dave Mustaine realized he didn't have to run and hide from the problems anymore in his own hazy world; that he could go a good way toward solving them?

"It came to the point where I was self-destructing, and if I didn't learn how to deal with my problems, I would self-destruct. I was waiting for spontaneous combustion. My brain was always ready to explode. I had vehement opposition toward the two people we fired, and even now toward one of them. With the other, I've buried the hatchet. I look at it this way: That was the past, and this is now. We're getting on, we're getting along, everything is cohesive, and there's a really amicable relationship between all of us. We're friends."

Was it a surprise to know that it could be this way?

"Yes, it has been. In essence, it's been very alarming to wake up in the morning and not wanna go out and get plowed because things are so bad. I mean, I've been in this band since the beginning, and I've never really considered it a contender until now. We blow the doors off everybody, but now it's uncontested."

Finishing off the personal questions for the time being, I ask Dave whether there was pressure to be the "outrageous, wild, outspoken Mustaine" that people came to expect.

"The were expectations of me to always be brash; to be obnoxious and belligerent when it came to stating my feelings about society, people, places and things. Right now I really don't care what people say anymore. Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one, and I really don't care what people say about me. I never have, and I never will. I know the music I write, nobody can touch it. It's completely uninfluenced by any outside musician. The music may not be commercial, but nobody can touch it. Nobody can write this shit. It's hard to play; and when it comes together, it's amazing."

Is it still important for Dave Mustaine to fight wars, write about the issues, and so on?

"The lyrical content of this album is still as outspoken as previous material, but it's touching on different topics. It's not necessarily about politics; it's more about personalities and the differences between people. Whereas 'Peace Sells' was a full-on political song, so is 'Rust in Peace.' 'Hangar 18' is about the US government, and asking if there's been a UFO landing. There's political shit in there. If I don't get picked up and locked away, I'll be very lucky, because the government's gonna be really bummed when they read 'Hangar 18,' if they ever read it. I know some idiot's gonna get it to somebody who's gonna say, 'Hey, this guy knows something.' Because all you've gotta do is watch the news. Half the news is pretentious bullshit."

We arrive at Rumbo some 20 to 30 minutes late the next day. Mustaine is pissed off, and immediately growls his complaints as I stand there, also getting a touch pissed off at this whole damn affair. I pass on telling him about the traffic - it just doesn't seem right, if you know what I mean - and attempt to cut through the room of gloom that slumps before me. I am ushered in to hear a mix of the one song my ears will be treated to (once), and can't actually say I remember a whole lot about i t, all things considered. Nonetheless, when it comes to resuming the second part of our interview, Mustaine is still stewing, but I decide to take no softer a line of questioning than I would have before my arrival at Rumbo. On we go.

What brought Megadeth to the idea of using Mike Clink [Guns N' Roses, Whitesnake] as a producer. Is it because of what he's done or what he can do?

"I think a lot of it has to do with the vibe that we got from him. He's a professional. He's worked with UFO... I wanted to hear some Schenker stories while I was in the studio, ha ha! He knows how to capture this band, and what you'll hear is a more refined and focused Megadeth."

Is Dave the writer still the same pissed-off Mustaine?

"I think it's still there and still me, but it doesn't have a [screw] you title. It's more like 'get out of the way' or 'get over' sort of title... get on or get under!"

Are Mustaine's lyrics a form of therapy for him?

"You mean for my own rehabilitation? Recovery? It's not diffusing any sort of time bomb I have inside of me or stroking my ego, it's just a way of me expressing how I feel. It's giving people an insight into how to cope with their problems, because I have the same problems, and what works for me might work for you."

Turning the focus to partnerships, I wonder just how Dave Mustaine sees his relationship with Dave Ellefson.

"We've always been really close. When I first met Dave, he really didn't know what was up, and I think that maybe he should be the one to answer this question more accurately. I just showed him what my lifestyle was, and he took that and adapted his own lifestyle out of it."

Dave Ellefson has always been the diplomatic member of Megadeth - the public peace face, if you will. It's not a tag he really loves, as you'll see, but...

First off, I wondered just how Ellefson viewed Megadeth's previous focus, and its focus now.

"Well, before, we started to lose sight of what was happening with us, the order of events. Between touring, making records and coming off the road, we really needed a break. Dave and I have been together pretty much since the day we formed the band. We needed to separate ourselves and just get our personal lives together. We had no personal lives, and the ones we were trying to get together were complete shit, which is how we came to have personal problems of our own."

"In a sense our lives became this road cliché and hey, listen, it was fun, and I don't regret anything from the past at all. But as far as a lot if things turned out, that occasional road partying turned into heavy abusing on the road, which turned into addictions. By the time it reaches that stage, when you come off the road, and you're [screwed] up and strung out, then it becomes no fun anymore. You can't live life like that, apart from the fact that we didn't even wanna try making this record under those circumstances."

Regarding the relationship with Mustaine, does Junior see himself as the spark or the constant factor or what?

"I look at it like this: Dave has been the fall guy for this band all along, and a lot of the reason for that is that he has a big mouth - not like a loud mouth, but he'll say what's on his mind. So Dave takes the fall for the drug problems in the band, the sporadic behavior, and it's like I'm right there with Dave all the way. Dave ends up getting the shit for it, when things should be divided evenly between us. By the same measure I think I am the glue that holds the wood together. That isn't how I wanted it to be, that's just how it is, and I'm happy with that. If it works well, why fix it? The machine is not broken, it's just this last year that we needed to fine-tune certain elements."

Creatively, how does Ellefson feel about matters?

"Well, Dave and I sometimes get into little scuffles about stuff, and sometimes there's tension between us about that. I wrote some stuff on the last record, some stuff on this record, and Dave wants to approve things. As a songwriter, I like Dave's songs a lot, and it's like, 'Give me the chance on my songs that I give you on yours.' One thing I can see with Dave right now is that he's not trying to run the one-man show; and as far as I'm concerned, it's never been a one-man show. Dave's backing down a bit right now, and I think he feels good about it. I think he feels good that there are other people in the organization that can handle things too."

"We've also always wanted a four-piece band. People look at us and think, 'Is Dave hard to get along with? Hard to work with? How come Megadeth can never keep a lineup together?' Y'know what? Dave and I have always been together. Maybe it wasn't just Dave's idea to get rid of the other members in the line-up; maybe it was both of us. It's not all Dave; it's the two of us together. Megadeth is in a clear-minded, good-focused position right now, as far as band members goes. If I was the way I used to be, things wouldn't be where they're at. If Dave was where he used to be, things wouldn't be where they're at. It took the two of us together to do it, and we had to clean the whole house, flush the toilet."

Asking new members questions can often lead to some redundant results, so I thought it better to offer the odd word here and there while Marty and Nick tell just what they feel about Megadeth 1990 and their part in it.

Marty: "In this band there's so many reliable tested ears available, you can count on their opinion being good. I play my parts now. I don't have to think about other little things. And this is a team. Every little thing that's done is heard by everybody, and everybody knows each other's parts. It's totally cool, because it's the only way a unit can be totally strong, I think."

Nick: "I was left alone to do my drum tracks, and it's a cool thing to know that Dave [Mustaine] respected my judgment enough to know that I was gonna do the right thing. It's all part of the family thing we're getting together here. He just came in and said, 'Great job.' Finally Dave and Junior have two guys who they can rely on to not get wasted, to be there at all times, and to totally kick ass on our parts - to go beyond the call of duty. These drum parts are the most intense Megadeth's ever had. I've got a lot to prove."

"This is a heavy album, it gonna definitely appeal to a wider range of people, but there's gonna be stuff like 'Take No Prisoners' and 'Five Magics' that are gonna really appeal to the hardcores. They won't be able to say that Megadeth's sold out, because this is definitely the new Megadeth. I'm just really happy to be here right now, because Dave and Junior are so on it. This band's got a lot to prove. Megadeth have been out of it for two years, and it's kinda like, 'Show us, don't tell us, ' and we're just definitely gonna slam."

The proof of this pudding won't just be in the eating, but in the memory of that taste.


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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