Megadeth Interviews


On the Phone with Dave :: Out to Lunch :: So Far, So Good for Megadeth :: Rust in Peace :: Dave the Human, Mustaine the Artist :: A Founding Forefather of Thrash :: The Outside Corner :: Music Is Our Business... And Business Is Good :: Deth Rally :: Trial by Fire :: Megadeth Conquers Globe :: Megadeth: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered :: Shooting from the Hip :: I Made It Home Alive! :: So Far, So Good... Now What? :: Megadeth: Online and Onstage :: Sodom and Gomorra :: Metal Is Still Their Business... But Who's Buying? :: Shooting from the Hip II :: Country and Western :: Metal Church :: Get in the Van :: Foreclosure of a Team :: Last Men Standing :: Without the MTV Support :: Set the World on Fire :: Dave Mustaine University :: Heavy Metal Marines :: The Real Line-up of Megadeth :: Risk Factor :: The World Will End in Megadeth :: Megadeth: Crush'em with Ferocity and Finesse :: An Ugly American :: Try to Sue Capital Records! :: Big Boys :: We're Pissed Off Again :: We're Pissed Off Again :: Dave Mustaine's Symphony of Reconstruction :: It Wasn't Fun Anymore :: Metallidethica :: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Been Asking :: Dave Ellefson: Life After Megadeth :: Die Another Day

Music Is Our Business... And Business Is Good

taken from Circus Magazine, November 1992
Mordechai Kleidermacher talks to Dave Mustaine


"Aiieee!!!" cries six-month old Justis David Mustaine into the telephone receiver, leaving a smarting ring in this reporter's ear. "What a set of lungs. The kid's going to be a singer," Dave Mustaine beams with fatherly pride. It's 7AM and Mustaine is feeding his frisky newborn. In between wails and spoonfuls, the sharp-tongued guitarist/vocalist fields questions - an unusual interview scenario.

Diapers and baby food are an ironic twist for a man who once upon a time lived the decadent rock-and-roll lifestyle in all its destructive, drug-induced glory. So much so that Megadeth's affairs ground to a complete halt while Mustaine and co-founder bassist Dave Ellefson struggled and successfully overcame their drug dependency. Meanwhile, they solidified their ever-changing personnel roster by adding drummer Nick Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman. The outcome was Rust in Peace, the techno metallers' monstrous 1990 gold album, which trumpeted Megadeth's return with a vengeance.

Now the success story continues with Countdown to Extinction. The thrash vets' politically charged fifth album has already been certified platinum - a first for Megadeth. So how's the band dealing with mainstream acceptance? Read on.


Mordechai Kleidermacher: You're an early riser. That contradicts most people's party-all-night-sleep-all-day notion of rock stars.

Dave Mustaine: First off, I'm not a rock star. Second I don't do drugs or any of that shit. Therefore I don't need to stay up all night. And third, I enjoy being up in the morning watching the sun come up. That's the best time of the day for me 'cause I walk my dog and take care of my son.

MK: Let's talk about Countdown.... Many of the album's songs have less of the manic riffing that characterized your past work. What was going through your head?

DM: That's pretty accurate. We've had a coming-of-age, so to speak, with our song arrangement. I'm not trying to prove anything anymore. Between this and the last album someone told me that key to making a song memorable, regardless of whether a song is heavy or not, is the fact that the reading level and the retentivity level of the average person is ten words when it comes to a song. A lot of people couldn't keep a beat if they had it in a bucket. You have to write stuff that Joe Blow, the average guy who mixes cement for a living, would groove on. There are guys that sit there and try and head bang and the beat is so simple, yet they lose it because they're so busy going, "Arrrgh!!!" You know throwing up the devil sign and stuff [laugh]. I see people singing the lyrics and hammering the air and it's almost like anarchy taking place right in front of me. Then I'll get eye contact with them and they'll freeze. Their eyes will bug out like someone stuck an air hose up their ass. Then it'll dawn on them that, "Oh! Mustaine's looking at me! I got to go even twice as crazy!" And they'll start freaking out, spitting blood and their teeth'll fall out and stuff. So now I try and concentrate on letting people have a good time and making it a little easier for them to keep the beat.

MK: The album debuted at number Two on Billboard's Top 200, a real landmark for you guys. What are your feelings about that?

DM: Neil Finn from Crowded House said it best: "The taste of success lasts a half-hour or less." Of course, I'm very happy, but I wasn't going to get caught up in it because that whole Billboard-chart mentality can really turn a musician into a rock star. That's when you start treating your fans like they're nothing more than a dollar. I still think of the people who listen to Megadeth as our friends. I mean, I've gotten into a lot of trouble because I sit there and talk one-on-one with people who are going through stuff. Most rock stars wouldn't talk to people unless they have tits or dope. That's a shame. It's especially important for the people that we interest. They look at me as this hard-luck story personified. You know, a kid who comes from a broken home using food stamps and Medicare and getting free lunches from the school cafeteria. My mom cleaned toilets. My father was off someplace drinking all the time. I grew up by myself essentially. I wanted so bad to fit in that I picked up the guitar. I knew that was my ticket to acceptance.

MK: Didn't your mother bail out on you when you were fifteen?

DM: I've said that in the past, but it wasn't that she bailed out on me. It was because of what was going on in my life. I was pretty rebellious. I didn't really want a job. So I sold pot. And my mom was a Jehovah's Witness and she wouldn't put up with that. But now, I understand that with her lifestyle she had to make that decision. I infringed on her privacy so much that every time I would go to rehearse with Metallica, I would leave eight ounces of pot wrapped up in Baggies on my dresser and say, "Mom, so and so's coming by. Would you make sure he doesn't take two of those." And she would go, "I don't even want to see it!" But I kind of made amends to her by getting sober before she died. She had a heart attack about two years ago. It just happened so fast. It was bizarre. I was 99 days sober. It was really trying but I managed to get through it. Most people would have used that as a green light to go back to their former ways. I wasn't willing to check out at that time. So it was a really good thing for me to have been able to spend time with her free from narcotic haze and tell her, "Hey mom, I'm sorry I was such a shit."

MK: How did you overcome your drug addiction?

DM: I had to recruit some help. I don't think I was capable of doing anything anymore other than killing myself. And I had a hard time doing even that, because I tried. I really tried to kill myself. I just couldn't do it. I tried to get sober, I just couldn't do it. I tried a lot of things, but I just couldn't pull it together. And I finally just met someone that I really cared about. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I hit bottom. I went into the hospital for the tenth time and it finally stuck.

MK: You recently covered the Democratic National convention for MTV, Why?

DM: My purpose was that I'm a father and I don't want my son to live in a more politically corrupt or bankrupt country than the US right now. In terms of this whole process of elimination, and you see its supposed to be the process of nomination, I think both parties are involved in this personal war. They're more concerned about selling their party than trying to right the country. That seems to be the focal point, not that young kids don't have jobs or health care or that we have a lousy school system; not the fact that people are dying everyday from AIDS and that there's no gay rights; not that the human race is being dictated to instead of presided over.

MK: You've also recently made statements that seem to indicate you've become somewhat religious, specifically Christianity. Have you become more in touch with that?

DM: I wouldn't say religious. I'd say spiritual. Religion is man-made and spirituality is God given. Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for people like me who have been there 'cause some of the stuff I've done in my life is as close to hell as you can get. Christ's teachings were to treat people the way you want to be treated. "Love your neighbor" and blah, blah, blah. Those are the Christian ideals I've adopted. Whether or not I wear a cross, I don't. I know in my heart what I believe in. I'm not telling people how to live their lives.

MK: How has your attitude changed?

DM: I used to be the kind of person that would be in a room full of ten people and if nine loved me, that would be great. And if one person hated me, I would spend the whole night trying to persuade him to like me, instead of realizing that people are people and that there's always going to be some people that don't like me. And if you don't like me, more power to you for saying that.


On the Phone with Dave :: Out to Lunch :: So Far, So Good for Megadeth :: Rust in Peace :: Dave the Human, Mustaine the Artist :: A Founding Forefather of Thrash :: The Outside Corner :: Music Is Our Business... And Business Is Good :: Deth Rally :: Trial by Fire :: Megadeth Conquers Globe :: Megadeth: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered :: Shooting from the Hip :: I Made It Home Alive! :: So Far, So Good... Now What? :: Megadeth: Online and Onstage :: Sodom and Gomorra :: Metal Is Still Their Business... But Who's Buying? :: Shooting from the Hip II :: Country and Western :: Metal Church :: Get in the Van :: Foreclosure of a Team :: Last Men Standing :: Without the MTV Support :: Set the World on Fire :: Dave Mustaine University :: Heavy Metal Marines :: The Real Line-up of Megadeth :: Risk Factor :: The World Will End in Megadeth :: Megadeth: Crush'em with Ferocity and Finesse :: An Ugly American :: Try to Sue Capital Records! :: Big Boys :: We're Pissed Off Again :: Dave Mustaine's Symphony of Reconstruction :: It Wasn't Fun Anymore :: Metallidethica :: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Been Asking :: Dave Ellefson: Life After Megadeth :: Die Another Day

The Realms of Deth
Interviews | Home | Back to the Top | E-mail