Megadeth Timeline


1981 :: 1982 :: 1983 :: 1984 :: 1985 :: 1986 :: 1987 :: 1988 :: 1989 :: 1990 :: 1991 :: 1992 :: 1993 :: 1994 :: 1995 :: 1996 :: 1997 :: 1998 :: 1999 :: 2000 :: 2001 :: 2002 :: 2003

1981
  • Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield form Metallica
  • Ron McGovney is hired as Metallica's bassist
  • Vixen (Marty Friedman's first band) releases Made in Hawaii
1982
  • January, Dave Mustaine leaves Panic and joins Metallica
  • March, Metallica's first concert at Radio City in Anaheim
  • March, Metallica opens for Saxon on their "Denim and Leather" tour
  • May, James Hetfield takes up rhythm guitar in addition to vocals
  • June, "Hit the Lights" is featured on Metal Massacre compilation
  • July, rare demo album No Life 'til Leather is released
  • December, Cliff Burton leaves Trauma to replace Ron McGovney
1983
  • March, Cliff Burton's first gig with Metallica
  • April, Dave Mustaine is fired from Metallica, Kirk Hammett leaves Exodus to replace him
  • April, Dave Mustaine's first attempt at forming a band, Fallen Angels, is a failure [more]

    "When I left Metallica, the first thing that I did when I got home was get a 'Recycler,' the magazine that I found the ad for Metallica in. I saw this one particular ad, some guy that sounded interesting, and at that point, I was not interested in forming a band right away, as much as I was into slowly building a band. I let Brian Lew, an influential tape trader in the Bay Area - someone who was to be very instrumental in the formative years of Megadeth - the information about me and this 'guy' Robbie McKinney. He called himself Robert Cromwell, he was a GIT player, very capable on guitar, but not meant to be. He suggested some guy on drums that I never actually saw face-to-face, as far as I can remember. I don't even remember his name. Robbie did show me some guitar licks and some interesting chords, some of which I used in "Looking Down the Cross," and he did go out with some girl that was a friend of Diana's [Mustaine's girlfriend of that time] so that I could see her. The band that everyone thinks was Fallen Angels, was nothing more than a beginning stage of Megadeth, and a very productive or influential one at that." (Mustaine)

  • May, Dave Mustaine meets David Ellefson for the first time
  • July, Metallica's first album, Kill 'Em All, is released
  • November, Mustaine and Ellefson form the nucleus of Megadeth [more]

    "When I left my previous band, I was looking for paper to write lyrics on because I was trying to keep myself from going insane on a four-day bus ride, I found a handbill from [California] Senator Alan Cranston that was talking about the danger of nuclear armament. It said, 'The power of megadeath can't be rid,' and I thought, 'What a fantastic name, it represents extreme power.'" (Mustaine)

    "Megadeth represents the power of annihilation. We spell the name phonetically because the meaning to us is the same you get out of the dictionary - it's a hypothetical body count after a nuclear fallout. It's a million deaths, and we want to leave our audience shellshocked wherever we go." (Mustaine, 1987)

  • Lee Raush becomes Megadeth's drummer
  • December, Mustaine becomes Megadeth's singer
  • Hawaii (Marty Friedman's second band) releases One Nation Underground
1984
  • February 15, Megadeth's first gig
  • February, Kerry King assists Megadeth on tour and then returns to Slayer [more]

    "Kerry King helped us out during a really trying period in our careers. Early on we had a hole in our line-up and he filled in for us on guitar." (Mustaine, 1998)

  • March, Greg Handevidt joins as second guitarist but leaves the band after a few weeks
  • April, Chris Poland is hired to replace Greg Handevidt
  • Lee Raush is replaced by Gar Samuelson
  • June, Megadeth records its first demo, entitled Last Rites
  • November, Megadeth is signed to Combat Records, an independent record company
  • Hawaii releases Loud Wild and Heavy
1985 1986
  • September, Cliff Burton dies in bus accident
  • November, Megadeth releases Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
  • Capital Records signs Megadeth, gets rights to Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? from Combat
  • Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam, Metal Church and Testament open for Megadeth on "Wake Up Dead" tour
  • Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson are fired after last show of tour in Hawaii [more]

    "In my opinion they weren't even one percent of Megadeth. It was me and Junior, who kept pushing things further and further." (Mustaine)

    "I was unfulfilled in that band. All I was was just Dave's fucking hired gun, lead guitar player. My input so minimal, that is just no fun, so I had to go." (Poland)

1987
  • Chuck Behler hired as Megadeth's drummer [more]

    "Dave [Mustaine] and I knew Chuck for about two years. When we saw we were having problems with Gar, we had Chuck fly out a few times to join us on the road and just kind of walk around, playing it low key. You know, we didn't want to be caught off guard if Gar left or we fired him and sit there without a drummer, so we covered our asses. The first day we rehearsed together, Dave and I just looked at each other and said, 'Yeah, this is the guy. This is it, let's go for it'." (Ellefson, 1988)

  • Jay Reynolds of Malice helps out Megadeth until they find a suitable replacement for Chris Poland, guitarist Jeff Young [more]

    "Jeff Young was hired during the recording of So Far, So Good... So What! when we realized that Jay Reynolds was not the right guitarist for Megadeth. In fact Jay had told us that he was going to have his guitar teacher come in the studio, do the solos for him, and then teach the solos to him later. I decided to cut out the middleman, met with Jeff Young, hired him and completed the rest of the album. Jeff Young is a talented guitarist and song writer." (Mustaine)

  • February, Megadeth opens for Alice Cooper's "Constrictor" tour
  • Megadeth tours with Mercyful Fate
  • November, Megadeth re-records "These Boots" for Dudes soundtrack
  • Marty Friedman's and Jason Becker's Cacophony releases Speed Metal Symphony
1988
  • January 19, Megadeth releases So Far, So Good... So What!
  • Megadeth opens for Dio on European tour
  • Megadeth featured in acclaimed documentary, Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years
  • August, Megadeth plays Castle Donnington with KISS, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden as the headliner
  • Megadeth opens for the "Monsters of Rock" tour
  • Megadeth cancels Australian tour
  • Dave Mustaine helps to produce Sanctuary's Refuge Denied
  • Marty Friedman releases his first solo album, Dragon's Kiss
1989
  • Jeff Young and Chuck Behler are fired
  • Mustaine is arrested for impaired driving, forced to clean up in 12-step program [more]

    "I realized that I'm seriously addicted to drugs only when I hit the very bottom. I was sitting in a jail cell looking at my hands full of needle holes. I was in the joint because I drove into a parked car. A guy leaned out the window, and showed me a police badge. A while before that I injected myself with some heroin, I was already on some cocaine, a couple of drinks and some other shit. In the hospital they counted nine of the other shit. In my pockets they found a jar of hard drugs, a spoon, needles, and a sack of pot. I stayed in the hospital for a month and started the process of quitting; not that it was really my decision. Some drug users can force themselves to do it, these are the ones that hadn't gone over the edge yet. I was in the other group. Now I'm sober for the fourth strait month. I don't even drink coffee, I don't smoke. I watch out for sugar and other white powders." (Mustaine, 1990)

  • Alice Cooper becomes Dave Mustaine's godfather [more]

    "I was in a hospital bed and I called him up and told him that I wanted to get a tattoo of my mascot Vic and his mascot Billion Dollar Baby on my arm, and I said: 'What do you think?' And he said he wouldn't do it. He just offered to be my godfather." (Mustaine, 1995)

    "Alice is actually my godfather. It wasn't like when I was a child he became that, it only happened a year ago. To me that was a killer, as I had always looked up to him. We came from the same backbone, the same mold, the same background. We are one and the same as far as being fascinated with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, life, death, blood and guts. The only difference between he and I is that his music has been out a lot longer and he's been more successful. I hope that I can learn a lot from him." (Mustaine, 1990)

  • July, Nick Menza, is hired as Megadeth's drummer. Dave Mustaine cannot find a suitable replacement for Jeff Young [more]

    Nick Menza acted as Chuck Behler's drum technician, until Chuck made his "last mistake," and was fired. To quote Dave, in response to the question of whether or not Nick Menza used to be a technician in the band:

    "I can answer it yes and no. Yes because we wanted him to be in the band and because we were paranoid about Chuck blowing it. We didn't want to lose out on the show that night or the next night, so we always had him there. Yes because he was there. And no, because he wasn't a drum roadie. He was there as a drummer waiting for Chuck to fuck up!" (Mustaine)

  • October, Megadeth's cover of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" released on Wes Craven's Shocker soundtrack
  • Cacophony releases Go Off!
1990
  • Jason Becker is diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs' disease, Cacophony officially breaks up
  • February, Marty Friedman is hired as Megadeth's lead guitarist
  • October 2, Megadeth releases Rust in Peace
  • October, Megadeth joins Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Testament for European "Clash of the Titans" tour
1991
  • March, Megadeth opens for Judas Priest, in support of their new album Painkiller
  • April, Dave Mustaine gets married to Pamela Anne Casselberry
  • April, Rusted Pieces home video is released
  • July, Megadeth's "Go to Hell" featured on Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack
  • American "Clash of the Titans" tour featuring Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, and opener Alice in Chains
1992
  • February 11, Dave Mustaine's first son, Justis, is born
  • May, Megadeth's "Breakpoint" featured on Super Mario Bros soundtrack
  • July 14, Megadeth releases Countdown to Extinction
  • November, Exposure of a Dream home video is released
  • Megadeth tours the USA with Stone Temple Pilots
  • Dave Mustaine covers Democratic national convention for MTV [more]

    "He performed as we expected him to - he's very opinionated, he's very articulate, and he's very direct with people. When you're in a chaotic situation like the Democratic National Convention, or interacting with the protests outside, you have to be very quick on your feet." (Tabitha Soren, MTV political correspondent)

  • Marty Friedman releases Scenes, with Nick Menza on drums
1993
  • February, Dave Mustaine overdoses on valium in a suicide attempt
  • June, Megadeth plays Milton Keynes Bowl with Diamond Head and Metallica
  • Megadeth opens for Iron Maiden for a few dates on their European tour
  • Aerosmith kicks Megadeth off their American "Get a Grip" tour, Jackyl takes their place [more]

    "Our previous manager lied to us and told us that Aerosmith had agreed to things which they had declined us, and we ended up arguing for things we were not entitled to. Aerosmith had a signed contract from our management stating that we would play for 45 minutes, that we didn't need a soundcheck and we wouldn't fly a backdrop. I would never have signed that. No soundcheck? This is Megadeth, not some garage punk band. No backdrop? That's iffy. But 45 minutes? C'mon, we're a multi-platinum band. I was pissed off at Aerosmith because I thought that they were fucking us, but I now know they were blameless. I just wish I'd handled it better." (Mustaine, 1998)

  • Pantera opens for Megadeth's "Countdown to Extinction" tour
  • June, Megadeth's "Angry Again" featured on Last Action Hero soundtrack
  • November, Megadeth's "99 Ways to Die" featured on The Beavis and Butthead Experience soundtrack
  • Dave Mustaine makes a guest appearance on Diamond Head's Death and Progress
1994 1995 1996
  • February 6, David Ellefson's son, Roman Alexander, is born
  • Dave Mustaine collaborates with Lee Ving of Fear on MD.45 project
  • December, MD.45 releases The Craving album
  • David Ellefson produces Helstar's reunion album, Multiples of Black
  • Marty Friedman releases True Obsessions
1997 1998
  • January 28, Dave Mustaine's daughter, Electra, is born
  • Megadeth takes part in Ozzfest'98
  • July, Jimmy DeGrasso replaces Nick Menza [more]

    "We've had a lot of good years with Nick, but the band's relationship with him had run it's course. We came to that conclusion after Jimmy [DeGrasso] stepped in mid-June to cover concert dates for Nick, who had taken a leave of absence to have a benign (non-cancerous) cyst removed from his knee." (Mustaine, 1998)

    "Nick was a big part of Megadeth's growth over the last four albums, however it became apparent to all of us that it would be in everyone's best interest to move on." (Ellefson, 1998)

    "When we did the 'Clash of The Titans' tour a few years ago, Jimmy was a member of Suicidal Tendencies. We got to see his ability and ethics first hand. And when I used him for my side-project [MD.45] I told him that if anything ever happens with Nick, he was in. The most difficult thing was when he [filled in] when Nick got his surgery. People would approach me and ask if I was letting Nick go. Or they would say Nick was fired and Jimmy was in and I would tell them no because I didn't have the chance to sit down and talk to Nick yet. I wasn't going to say, 'Yeah, he's fired' through a tabloid.' I wanted to be able to talk to him and let him know. I didn't like the way I was let go from Metallica. There was no civility in the way it happened. They just said, 'You're out' and I said, 'What, no warning, no second chance?' I wasn't going to do that to Nick." (Mustaine, 1998)

  • October 23, David Ellefson's daughter, Athena Grace, is born
1999
  • January, Megadeth's "Crush'em" featured on Universal Soldier: The Return soundtrack
  • January, Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman cover Alice Cooper's "School's Out" for Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper compilation
  • July 14, Gar Samuelson dies at the age of 41 due to "undiagnosed liver complications"
  • July 25, Megadeth plays at Woodstock'99
  • August, Megadeth's "Duke Nukem Theme" and "New World Order" released on Duke Nukem: Music to Score by compilation
  • August 31, Megadeth releases Risk
  • September, Megadeth opens for Iron Maiden on their European tour
  • October, Megadeth's "A Secret Place" featured on Woodstock '99 compilation
2000
  • January, Marty Friedman leaves Megadeth, Al Pitrelli replaces him
  • June, Megadeth's cover of Black Sabbath's "Never Say Die" released on Nativity in Black II: A Tribute to Black Sabbath compilation
  • June to September, "Maximum Rock" tour with Motley Crue [more]

    "They [Motley Crue] cut Anthrax' pay completely and cut ours down by $5,000 instead of sending home one of the extra trucks of bullshit and dancers. If they had sent home all of that stuff and just played, all three of us would have been able to play. They told everyone about why Anthrax was not on the tour, and that we both were going to get more time and Megadeth did not get one second more. It was about the money, the tour was a losing venture and should have been shut down sooner. The only reason we even considered playing on that fucking disaster was because our friends in 'Thrax were on it. I would rather have my testicles eaten by Hannibal Lecter than tour with them again." (Mustaine, 2001)

  • September, Megadeth leaves Capitol Records
  • October, Megadeth is signed to Sanctuary Records [more]

    "It isn't that we wanted to be on an independent label as much as we had realized that our time with Capitol Records had ended. Capitol went through a lot of changes, especially in the early and mid-nineties. They are trying to get their ship onto a new course and we are obviously trying to maintain ours and we just started to find that it was harder and harder to make that happen within the marriage of Megadeth and Capitol Records. To both of our credits we both honored our recording contract and we finished it which is something that I can't think of too many bands being able to do. [laughs] They either break up or someone dies or something happens, you know. So, the fact that we were able to begin our lives with a contract with Combat Records and complete a multi-album recording deal with a major label and then still have enough life on the back side of that to enter into a new recording contract with a new company and to continue on at the pace that we are, it shocks me even! All the energy that our fans have and that we have and the whole organization, it just shocks me." (Ellefson, 2001)

  • October 24, Megadeth releases Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years compilation
2001
  • Megadeth tours with AC/DC
  • April-May, "The World Needs a Hero" US acoustic tour [more]

    "We started that over in Japan. One day we were driving to a venue for a concert in Yokohama and our drummer at the time, Nick Menza, he was always wanting to do an MTV Unplugged and the timing just never worked out for Megadeth and he said 'We should at least try do an acoustic song' so we broke out the stools and the acoustics and banged out a song and the Japanese just loved it, I mean, they just went nuts. Then we tried it again in South America and started dabbling with it on specialty shows on the radio so to set up The World Needs a Hero it seemed like, you know you always want to do something special for the radio stations and for your real die-hard fans and rather than just playing another version of the songs again we thought that we could do this. It was new and unique and a way to really wet everybody's appetites for the new record and the new tour. The acoustic thing is probably the most intimate that you can get with Megadeth musically so we did that." (Ellefson, 2001)

    "Acoustic is harder to play than electric, really. You can hide behind distortion when you're playing electric." (Mustaine, 2001)

  • May 15, Megadeth releases The World Needs a Hero
  • June-july, "The World Needs a Hero" world tour
  • September-november, "The World Needs a Hero" US tour
  • October 9, Megadeth releases Megadeth: VH1 Behind The Music home video on DVD and VHS
  • 16-17 November, Megadeth gigs in Phoenix and Tucson are recorded for Rude Awakening live album and DVD
2002
  • January, Dave Mustaine suffers from an injury that damages his left hand and arm
  • February 5, Megadeth releases remastered edition of Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! album through Loud Records
  • March 19, Megadeth releases Rude Awakening live album
  • April 3, Dave Mustaine quits Megadeth, other members decide to disband the group
  • April 7, Al Pitrelli rejoins Savatage replacing Jack Frost [more]

    "Me and the boys have remained friends in the past couple of years, touring together on a lot of the same bills last summer. I was also fortunate enough to work closely with Paul, Jon, and Bob as their musical director on one of the touring companies of Trans Siberian Orchestra this past season. I can't wait to get back in the studio with the all the boys and make a great Savatage record!" (Pitrelli, 2002)

    "For the past five years we haven't recorded without Al in either Savatage or Trans Siberian Orchestra. When we heard Dave Mustaine was calling it quits we felt it was natural that he step up his involvement with us." (Jon Oliva, 2002)

    "Those guys lied to me. You can't lie to the fans. I loved playing in that band. I thought they were friends. We toured together, telling me how much they enjoyed me being in the band, made plans for the next record and the festivals this summer. If that's what you consider 'friends,' then be my enemy. They call me up and say I'm fired, just like that. I'm not a drunk or a drug addict. They never complained about the live performances, just the opposite, complimenting me, in the press, about how much renewed energy I brought to the show. So at the end of the day, it was just a decision to bring 'their boy' back." (Jack Frost, 2002)

  • April 9, Megadeth releases Rude Awakening home video on DVD and VHS
  • July, Dave Mustaine auctions off his equipment and merchandise
  • September 10, Megadeth releases Still Alive... And Well?
2003
  • May, Dave Mustaine announces that his rehabilitation is over and that he begins work on a solo album
  • October 14, DTS Entertainment releases Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? album in DVD-Audio format


1981 :: 1982 :: 1983 :: 1984 :: 1985 :: 1986 :: 1987 :: 1988 :: 1989 :: 1990 :: 1991 :: 1992 :: 1993 :: 1994 :: 1995 :: 1996 :: 1997 :: 1998 :: 1999 :: 2000 :: 2001 :: 2002 :: 2003

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