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 :: 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

Megadeth Conquers Globe

taken from CyberArmy Zine, 1995
Interview with Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Friedman and Nick Menza

As Megadeth blasted across the globe in support of their latest platinum release Youthanasia, each member of the band took time out to report to us here at CyberArmy Headquarters. At this point on their tour, Megadeth had the throttle on full power, winding up the hugely successful European leg of their "Youth" tour. In a rare moment not on stage waging war on the ears of Megadeth fan's throughout Europe or thundering across the European highways, Megadeth contacted us at CyberArmy Headquarters. Here's what Dave, David, Marty, and Nick had to say.

Dave Mustaine

CyberArmy: In terms of touring, is this the part of your job that you love most of all or do you look forward to getting back into the studio and producing?

Dave Mustaine: Touring can be really hard if you don't realize the benefits that you give other people. One show can please so many people. If we have a good show, or if we have a great show, we do it so often that it's not really as life or as mood altering or as important because it is our job. For me the reward of watching the happiness that we bring others when we play live is pretty much irreplaceable. The studio is such a creative process. The discovery process is equally as cool, but in a totally different way.

CyberArmy: Are there certain messages that you would like to communicate through your music?

DM: The first message is that I would hope for our fans to have a better lifestyle growing up then we did.

CyberArmy: It was tough growing up...

DM: Yeah, it was. I grew up in a broken home. I was a latchkey kid. I really didn't have a pleasant childhood and that is part of the reason why I am really drawn to be supportive and helpful of our following.

CyberArmy: How would you describe what your music is all about?

DM: I would just say that it is very stimulating, aggressive music that contains influences all the way from blues to jazz fusion, to speed and thrash metal.

CyberArmy: What is special about the current Megadeth roster now?

DM: I think the reason that this lineup is more successful than any other one is that the vision is the same. There is a difference between wanting to be successful for the money and wanting to be successful because you love what you do.

CyberArmy: Everybody has the same sense that it is just for the love of it?

DM: We pretty much all understand why we play the way we do and who has influenced the style that we follow. It is a lot easier to have this in common rather than trying to force someone to like the style.

CyberArmy: Collaboration then comes easily to you guys?

DM: It is pretty simple. It is almost to the point where it is robotic when it comes down to having the assemblage of a song. I can have a riff, or a part of a song, and start playing it and we have become so closely woven that I can start a part and they will be right on top of it in a matter of seconds. I can write a riff and it will be a song immediately. I just have to put the pieces together. We have written and completed songs in a day. "Angry Again" was written in one day. "Victory" was written in a couple hours. It just depends. Most people can write a song real fast too, but the level of success generated off of their songs... I mean, sometimes you can tell that it was written in an hour.

CyberArmy: What were some of the reasons given for the banning of the "A Tout Le Monde" video and what was your reaction?

DM: It was banned because of the lyrical content and the theme of the video which they believed was too depressing and suicidal as far as stimulating people to take their own life. I don't see how that video could do that. I do understand that the video was depressing. I didn't really like it myself. I didn't want to use the director that did the video. We had wanted to use someone else. It was a totally different story line than what this video ended up being. But, we had talked to the director and he made it seem like it was really going to work. The story to this video was never really explained to me where it would represent suicide in any way. That was not something that came up. In fact, we don't write music that has any kind of suggestion about taking one's own life. It is more like, "Hey, we have a problem here. Let's be part of the solution." This is something that is probably the most disappointing - that you've got an institution that is supposedly for your mind and says that censorship is anti-American and stuff like that and something goes to them that they believe is obviously distasteful or unacceptable and they won't play it. It cost us a lot of money to have that video made and it is just sitting there now.

CyberArmy: Is there any way for fans to see it?

DM: No. They are going to have to release it retail and hope that we break even - that the fans will want to see it enough that we recoup some of the money that we have laid out. Basically, it was a poor directional move from some of the advisors that we had.

CyberArmy: What are the major differences between the Youthanasia album and the previous albums?

DM: From Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! up until Countdown to Extinction, the albums were written while performing previous material - because we'd be on the road. We'd be writing a song that day and that night we'd play every song from record one to whatever record we were touring with. We would be constantly listening to the old material and that would influence the music. It would keep it current and up-to-date with the very beginning of our inspirational era. Youthanasia was written totally and 100 percent exclusively in the studio. We weren't playing any old, cataloged material. None of the past really influenced the new record. So, that's what you get. If we went into another room and didn't play any of the live material from the past and just started writing again, chances are it would be another record in the Youthanasia vain. We have written a lot of new songs while out touring this record.

CyberArmy: These songs will be going on the next record?

DM: Yeah. This new record is not going to be deevolutionizing, but it is gonna take everything that we have learned with maturation and the melodic process that we've grasped and it will also be coupled with the aggression and the high energy that we expend at a live performance. It promises to be very interesting, this new record.

David Ellefson

CyberArmy: How are the European audiences responding to the"Youthanasia" tour?

David Ellefson: So far, the audiences have been really good and it seems to me that heavy metal and especially Megadeth are very much at the forefront of music in Europe. It seems like the attendance is better than it has ever been. We have been to many of the cities and countries in Europe several times and we actually went to a few new countries in Europe, too. We just came from two nights in Tel Aviv, Israel.

CyberArmy: You hadn't been there before?

DE: Never been there before. It was really cool to go there because obviously lots of times you only know what you hear from other bands or people on the road that have been to a country, or what you see on TV. So, Tel Aviv was very cool. There were some other new countries we played in - we played in the Czech Republic, which used to be Czechoslovakia. We played in Portugal.

CyberArmy: Did you get a sense of the changing political climate and changing vibe?

DE: You know it is unfortunate that politics ever comes in the way of people period. That is one of the good things with us playing music. We often get asked, "What is your favorite country to play in? Where is the best audience..." and in all honesty, usually once we get on stage we see that people are really all the same. Especially the Megadeth fans in the heavy metal community. They are really the same no matter where we go or what language they speak.

CyberArmy: We've heard that European crowds are a little bit more manic?

DE: In a lot of counties, like Tel Aviv for example, they haven't gotten a lot of music from the Western cultures over there. So, I think that they are really happy and just the fact that we even showed up was something. I mean, once we showed up and we were there, then it was like the word spread. Fortunately, a lot of the strict regulations from the country to country are kind of breaking down a little bit more throughout Europe, so it is easier to travel from country to country. I don't think that there is as much segregation as there used to be which is great for music.

CyberArmy: What do you anticipate the fans taking with them from a show or even from just listening to your music?

DE: Hopefully, a good serious ringing in the ears.

CyberArmy: Are there any messages that you as a band feel you want to communicate or express?

DE: We've never been into messages. We play music. I think our records are made so that people can listen to them. Our live shows have an energy and when people come, it is their night. Some of these people have waited many years or at least many months to see us and it is their night to do whatever they want to do. If they want to sit in their seat and listen and watch closely to what we are doing, or if they want to be down on the floor and swirling around with their friends bangin' into each other, that's cool. It is really up to them whatever they want to do.

CyberArmy: In terms of the new album, what are some of the major differences between this one and previous Megadeth records?

DE: The good thing about Megadeth is that of the six albums we have, no two are alike. When you hear them, you obviously know that it is Megadeth. You hear the similarities in the basis of our sound, which is guitar riffing, and heavy drums and bass. Musically and lyrically, however, we really pay attention to not repeating ourselves. People ask what is your favorite Megadeth record and it's like, I like them all. They are all my favorites because no two are exactly alike in any way.

CyberArmy: What direction do you see the band going in?

DE: We work on new music at soundcheck all the time. Some of us carry our laptop computers and we are working on lyrics and all this kind of stuff until we actually get in and start recording. There really is no definite direction, like this is what we are doing, this is where we are going... I mean we may have a couple of things in mind, but really, for the most part, that is the cool thing about music. It is hard to sit down at the drawing board and draw up a plan of what you are going to do on a music level. The freedom that we have is basically, shoot from the hip. Right now, we are working on some new songs and keeping the creative juices flowing. There is really no direction with it and we never know until we get into the studio. Like I said, musically, sound-wise - yeah there are a lot of similarities from record to record, but on a musical and lyrical note, aside from just the sound that Megadeth has as a band, no two records are alike at all. That is one of the things we take great pains to do - not to repeat a riff or a lick or repeat even a sentence of lyrics. If anything is similar to any other record, if it is even close, we change it. Not only that, but we are not saying something that another artist has said before, or something that we've already said on another record.

CyberArmy: This is the third album with the band's line up as such. What do you think is special about the current Megadeth roster?

DE: When the four of us, as we are now, got together and we made the record Rust in Peace I think we knew we were onto something special. Over the last three records, we have really honed our sound and we have learned how to write and record together because it doesn't matter how great anybody is individually. When you play in a band, it is all about how well you play with each other. That is something that takes some time to do and now that we are on our third world tour and our third record together, we've really gotten it together and it always keeps evolving, too. We are always changing songs in the live show. We are changing what some of the segues are between songs and no two nights, even though we may have played the same songs from night to night, are alike because we have really stripped down our live show as far as really keeping it loose and really keeping it very spontaneous and really staying away from any clichés.

CyberArmy: What is your attraction to Cyberspace? Can you tell us a little about the Megadeth Arizona concept?

DE: We wanted to be involved with the interactivity of computers and music a couple years ago and the way that it has really manifested itself is through the Internet and the world wide web site known as Megadeth Arizona. That's just the beginning of our e-mail and on-line activity. A lot of the potential is just now starting to be tapped into. I think that it is good. I really like it because we use it as a communication tool between us and our fans. That is really what it is used for. Originally it was started as sort of a promotional item by Capitol Records for the Youthanasia record. As far as the Internet, the members of the band have really gotten involved with the web site and answering e-mail. Even though there is definitely something special about writing a fan letter, putting it in an envelope and sending it to be read by the band, on-line capability has made us more accessible to our fans. We are able to include our fans into Megadeth's world. We use it to try to figure out what kind of songs the fans want to hear. We have been doing meet 'n' greets after the show as well, where we go out and meet thirty, forty, even up to two hundred fans after a show and the fans get a kick out of it because they get to hang and take pictures. For us, that's very cool because we get to stay very current to what our fans want to see and hear and we really try to work our live show around that. We take a lot of their requests. We really take those to heart and see if we can work their requests into our plan. It helps us stay in touch.

Marty Friedman

CyberArmy: What have been some of the highlights for you this tour? How have the European audiences been treating you guys?

Marty Friedman: European audiences have been great as usual. The concerts have been outstanding. Some of the highlights have been going to new countries - going to Israel for the first time was really great for me. It was really amazing being in that part of the world and seeing a whole new culture apart from where we usually play. In France, Germany, and Holland, we are practically locals.

CyberArmy: Is touring a part of your job that you love the most?

MF: To be honest with you it is the part I love the least.

CyberArmy: You look forward to getting back into the studio?

MF: I look forward to recharging the batteries right about now, because we really put out so much effort into our show and it really takes a lot of concentration and a lot of personal power at 100 percent every single night. This is the longest we have ever been out on tour.

CyberArmy: How long has it been?

MF: It has been eight weeks out in Europe. It really has been a very gratifying schedule. It has pretty much been a good test of the stamina for the band and we've kicked ass 1000 percent everywhere we've gone. I feel like we have really accomplished something.

CyberArmy: How do you keep the show fresh for yourself every night?

MF: You have to just feed off the energy of the crowd. The last show that we did in Israel was probably done on about four hours sleep because the night before we did a concert that finished at about 1:30 AM and then the promoters took us out to eat until 4:00 AM. We all got very little sleep the next day because there were so many things to do in Israel. You don't go to Israel every day, so you give up a little bit of sleep and you do some of the local things. As far as if you are tired, or you are run down, it really goes away the second you get on stage because the crowds have been so intense. It is such a charge to see them when you play the first note. You completely forget about the rest of the day. You just go and kick ass.

CyberArmy: What is the set list like?

MF: We have found a set list that really works now and we don't stick to it religiously every single night because that would be really boring and I think the fans would notice that. But, we've got a really good pacing right now and sometimes we exchange a song or two, but we've got stuff from all the albums and I think that's what makes it work as opposed to just trying to promote something new.

CyberArmy: What is special about the current Megadeth roster?

MF: It is about chemistry. You get four musicians together and it doesn't matter how good, or how talented anybody is. If there is no chemistry, it is not going to work. When the four of us strap on our instruments, it just sounds like Megadeth. That is a very lucky thing because sometimes you can play together and there is just no spark. When we get together and jam there is definitely something very unusual and cool that happens every time.

CyberArmy: You all seem perfectly in synch together in a collaborative and musical sense.

MF: Yeah, we naturally know what works and what doesn't work. We are lucky because we are all kind of a similar age and we all have a very similar vision of what we think Megadeth should be. We all know what's cool. It is not like there is one guy who is in the band who would prefer to be playing in the Holiday Inn lounge, in a jazz combo and is trying to fight for the band to have the jazz combo sound. We all know what we think is bitchin'. It is not like we argue over what is cool and what is not cool, because we all know immediately and it is usually pretty much the same thing.

CyberArmy: What are your thoughts on the banning of the "A Tout Le Monde" video and how are you and the band fighting that?

MF: It is really hard, especially when we are out here performing every night. We are concentrating on our concerts and giving the most for our fans. Things like videos and album releases and single releases are very political and we are musicians. It is really hard for us to do anything other than play music. So, it is really a shame, because I think that song is great and it has potential to be a huge hit. I mean it is proven every single night when we play it in countries around the world - even in non-French speaking countries. They are singing it like it is their native language. It is exhilarating when we play it every night and I am very shocked that it is not on MTV twenty times a day.

CyberArmy: In terms of the cover art on the Youthanasia album, what were some of the views expressed on that and what was your reaction?

MF: I thought the cover art was great. I think it is a cool album and we never do anything just for shock value or to get controversial press because that is basically a pain in the ass. We like it and that's what we wanted our album cover to be. A lot of people take offense to it and that is too bad. Maybe we lost some record sales because of it, and maybe we gained some, but at the end of the day we are happy with it.

Nick Menza

CyberArmy: How are the European audiences responding to the tour?

Nick Menza: Really good. It is hard to really decipher what type of audience it is. Our fans are pretty dedicated everywhere. It's another Megadeth show regardless of whether we are in America or Europe or South America or wherever. I don't really notice it.

CyberArmy: You did a show in Israel? How was that?

NM: Yeah, we did two. It was interesting. It was a total misconception of what you see on TV.

CyberArmy: In what sense?

NM: Just the news. I mean, you see all the negative things there and you think, God, what a dangerous place, but it is just like another city anywhere in the world. I found it pretty pleasant there, surprisingly. It is very Westernized with people hanging on the beach, partying. It was cool. I actually enjoyed it. Plus, it's towards the end of the tour, so everybody is gearing up to head home. I think that had some play in it.

CyberArmy: Which aspect of the music business do you prefer: touring or getting back into the studio?

NM: Playing live is actually what we do - we are musicians. We are players. When you get in the studio, it is such a different bag of tricks. It is so different playing in the studio. It is not as rewarding immediately. It is more long term. When the record is completed I like the studio too. If I had to choose between the two, I would definitely much rather be playing live rather than in the studio.

CyberArmy: Touring can be very draining. How do you keep the shows fresh and exciting for yourself?

NM: Sometimes touring can be a drag. I'll tell ya, it gets hard if I have a cold or something. If I am not feeling well, that is when the moral level goes down. But, for the most part, this is really what I live for - to be out here on the road and to have the opportunity to play in front of people. In every city that we go to, the hour and a half that I spend up on stage pretty much out-weighs all the crap that I have to deal with through the course of the day, in term of traveling: hotels and bad food. There are so many negatives that play in and out through the day that the positive of being on the stage and seeing the enjoyment of the fans really just out-weighs everything completely and you forget about all that stuff.

CyberArmy: What do you think that the fans are taking home with them after they see a Megadeth show?

NM: T-shirts, caps, tour programs and maybe, possibly, some of my drumsticks if they are lucky enough to nab one as I throw it out. Happiness, enjoyment. I see us making a lot of people happy and it's a good feeling.

CyberArmy: What direction do you see the band going in?

NM: We are pretty focused and in alignment with what we want to do and how we want to do it. We have always been the type of band that makes the music for ourselves, foremost, and really, I think, that is what it is all about. I believe that is why our music has so much substance to it. It is real. It is reality. It is not like we are trying to contrive shit that we think people are going to like. Our attitude is always - if people don't like it, that's okay because we do. We are the ones that have to get up there and play it everyday.

CyberArmy: This is a feeling you could have in terms of the cover art and the "A Tout Le Monde" video?

NM: Yeah, it is what we wanted to do. It is all about what makes us happy and if it doesn't make us happy, then it is certainly not going to make anyone else happy. That is pretty much my attitude. I don't want to compromise my artistic integrity, or what I believe in, for the media of for the record company, or anyone for that matter. We have to stick to our guns and keep our musical integrity.

CyberArmy: What attracted you to first working with Dave and David?

NM: It seems like so long ago... I was definitely a fan of the band's and the style of music before even meeting Dave or David. It is just probably my love for music and being able to play the most intense music that I can drum to and not have to hold back. heavy metal music for the drums is probably one of the most intense types of music that you can play. Megadeth, for me, is definitely an aggressive, artistic endeavor that I can journey on and there is, basically, a no-hold-barred attitude - anything is possible with this band. Since I joined, it has been really rewarding, not in the financial sense, but more in just the gratification of being able to do things and say, "Hey, you know what? I put that together. I put that program together."

CyberArmy: You all seem to have similar visions of what the band should be...

NM: Most definitely. Well, all have the same similar goals, and you know the vision might be different, but we are all looking in the same place and that is what makes a real band. We definitely have a formula and a nucleus for creating and constructing songs. Everybody knows which way to do things: what it is and how it is going to be. It is about just getting out there and playing our instruments.

CyberArmy: Is there going to be a release of Hidden Treasures here in the States?

NM: There probably is. I know that they are talking about it right now. I don't know when it is going to happen, but there definitely is. I think it is unfortunate for the fans to have to go out and buy all those soundtracks just to get one song from us if they are a Megadeth fan. That was really the point of putting Hidden Treasures out - was so they could get all the singles that aren't on any of our records and be able to buy them in one CD set. I know the ones in Europe were just tagged onto the Youthanasia record for the same price, so it is really, actually, a cool deal. I see the response from a lot of the fans who are like, "This is really a cool that you guys did this. Thanks a lot," and it's like, "Right on."

CyberArmy: Is there a Mega box of singles released in Japan already?

NM: I think it is already out. I'm not really sure. It's funny. I see a lot of stuff that I don't know about. Then, I see them around and I'm like, "Hey, where did you get that?" And people say, "Hey, I got it at the store."

CyberArmy: You've been to Japan quite often?

NM: Yeah. In 1992 we were over there. It is always real good for us when we go over there. It is pretty exciting. We are kind of like the Beatles there. They are real fanatical fans. All the other crap that we deal with doesn't weigh out to the actual gratification that we get from seeing the enjoyment of the fans and us going there. For instance, going to Israel for the first time, I had no idea there was a rock scene down there. There is, and all the fans were totally, "Thanks for coming! Are you gonna come back again?" And it was like, "Of course!"

CyberArmy: Marty was saying that the perception we get in the media is so different...

NM: Oh yeah. Totally. All you see is the negative stuff on CNN and you think, "Oh my God, what a dangerous part of the world." But they think the same thing about LA. I live in LA and they think LA is very dangerous! They kill you in your car for your vehicle! And it's like, yeah, they do - but, you know it is such isolated incidents and they show that stuff on the news and people think, "Oh my God, what a dangerous place Los Angeles is!" It's no different than anywhere else. No difference than London. No different than New York City, Chicago, and Detroit has got to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

CyberArmy: Any plans for another remix?

NM: We had Trent Reznor remix some singles for us. I don't know. That was kind of the "in" thing to do at the time: put out these industrial mixes of songs. We figured, "Hey, let him do it and see what happens." There are no plans to do another one that I know of. I can't say that we won't do one, but we haven't talked about anything like 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

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