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

Dave Mustaine's Symphony of Reconstruction

taken from, 2001
The Rack talks to Dave Mustaine

Exclusive interview: with a new guitarist, new album, new record deal and new songs on a new greatest hits albums, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine has a lot to be excited about. Plus, he was interviewed by The Rack, so you know he's all juiced up!!!

The Rack: So, was Capitol Punishment your last contractual obligation with Capitol Records?

Dave Mustaine: It was our last album with Capitol Records. It had been about 15 years and after a while you just kinda forget how long it's been. We had delivered the new record to them and said, "Here's the last record we owe you, we need to see you on Monday." Now, we gave it to them on July 5th, which was a Wednesday. So we go back in there on the following Monday and said we want off the label and we want our record back. And they said, "What?" They thought we were so happy there and we'd wanna renegotiate. I don't know how anybody could've even assumed that, but anyway, we went back on Friday and they said we'll let you go, but we want two new songs and we're gonna put them on the greatest hits records. They picked the tracks and said we want "Dread and The Fugitive Mind" and "Kill the King." We said you're not getting "Dread and The Fugitive Mind." You can have "Kill the King" and "Capitol Punishment," which was the song that was made up of all different little pieces of all the music of our entire career, because we thought it would be fitting to do a farewell to the record company and give them a record and try one more time. It was just so obvious with what happened with Risk: they wanted us to make an album that they could really work at radio and active rock and alternative radio and we did that to the best of our ability and it totally backfired. That's why we called it Risk, because we knew we were taking a risk. And when we put the new record in their hands our management, our attorneys and everybody said, "You know what? You need to get off this label." So they said they were gonna help you get off the label. So when they said, "Okay, just give us two songs." We're like, "Yes!" Then they said if you don't give us "Dread," we're gonna keep you and they had rights to two greatest hits after this last studio record, so they would've had three records instead of just the one right now in the deal. I thought about it and said, "Just give 'em 'Dread' and let's move on."

The Rack: What has the reaction been to the greatest hits album from the fans?

DM: Some people were bellyaching that the track selection on it isn't good because "Wake Up Dead" isn't on there and "The Conjuring" isn't on there and all these heavy songs. But it's like, guys, you don't understand, we would've been stuck there and our career's were going down because no one really knew what to do with us there. Capitol's not a metal record label. They're not a hard rock label. They're great for Everclear, and they were great for MC Hammer, but God, we don't fall in between those two categories. So we're excited about the new record and the new label and everything we've done. We feel like we've made a decision to be where we belong because the label [Sanctuary] is headed by two people that manage Iron Maiden and have a lot of other experience with a lot of other bands. They understand the metal community and understand people like myself and your listeners, to whom metal isn't just a name, it's a way of life. And it's something where you can't try and change us and we were trying to be what people wanted us to be. When you're paying someone 15% of your earnings, which is a shitload of money, and then all of a sudden you stop listening to them, you should stop paying them. But one of the things that we did was if we continued to pay them, was to listen to them.

The Rack: What is your opinion of Risk in hindsight? How much did former guitarist Marty Friedman have to do with the sound?

DM: If Risk would take off and really hit I would be looked at like a genius, although I was uncomfortable with what we did, it was risk that we took. Marty Friedman wanted it to be even more pop than it was. Marty's doing dance music now. He lives in Arizona still with us. I live on 128th St. and he lives on 108th St., so we're still really close. I never saw him when he was in the band, so I don't expect to see him now that he's not, but I heard his new music and it's weird. It's really weird. I mean, it's good because Marty's unbelievably talented. He's one of those people who, no matter what he's trying to do, he'll be good at it. Like a cross between Elastica meets Garbage. And the chorus is this dance techno stuff. And the chorus says, "Shake that hot thing." And I'm like, "shake what?" Me and David Ellefson are driving in his Mercedes going someplace and listening and we hear a girl singing "Shake that hot thing" and I'm like, "Oh my god! The Megadeth fans are gonna die!" God, he's committed career suicide. The sad thing about it is, as many fans who blamed me for Risk, as a leader, you have to understand harmony within individuals and compromise certain things to make everybody happy and Marty wasn't happy. So we're trying to manufacture the band so everybody was okay, 'cause he's really great and I didn't wanna lose him. But we just didn't go far enough to the right to make him happy. And now that he's gone, people can hear in the new music and say, "Hey, Megadeth is still the same Megadeth prior to Cryptic Writings," Not that it's Marty's fault, but now that he's gone, I mean, do the math.

The Rack: What inspired the song "Crush'em"? That has a different feel than most Megadeth songs?

DM: Our manager at the time, Bud Prager said, "Dave I want you to do something," and this is exactly what he said, he's a legend in the music ministry and I was really lucky to work with him. But he said, "Dave, I want you to do something that your previous band members said, 'Goddamnit' why didn't we think of that.'" I said, "Well, that pretty much leaves it wide open 'cause we've done just about everything." And he said, "You haven't done a disco song and you haven't done a grassroots song, like a hillbilly song, like Deliverance." I said, "I ain't doing that grassroots crap," because I had just spent a year out in Nashville and I wasn't interested in becoming a hillbilly. So I said, "Okay, we'll check out this disco thing," and that's where "Crush'em" came from because we were trying to get this pulsating, drum program underneath the bass line thing that is really infectious and it brings you in.

The Rack: How's your new guitarist Al Pitrelli working out?

DM: He's great. Like I said, Marty's terrific, I don't have a grudge against him and I want people to understand that whatever he's gonna do is gonna be really good. But we're so fired up right now with Al being in the band. When Chris Poland was in the band, he's a really amazing jazz player but had an injury to his finger. He stuck it through a window doing something, I don't know, probably burglarizing a house or something, I don't know. But he had this really interesting playing style and he played really weird. And when Jeff Young played in the band he didn't wanna play Chris' stuff so he improvised. When Marty came in he didn't wanna do Jeff's or Chris' stuff so he improvised both of them, too. When Al came in I said listen, "When Randy Rhoads died, Bernie Tormie came in and butchered his solos, and then the guy from Night Ranger came in, Brad Gillis, and butchered his solos even more. I mean, there's nothing worse than listening to "Crazy Train" and hear someone else hack the solo." So I said, "Al, you gotta learn this stuff." Marty was gracious enough to videotape every song, how he played it, what the solos were. And we went back and listened to the songs and watched the videos and realized that Marty had been doing a lot of stuff wrong, from when we did it in the studio. So we not only fine tuned what Marty was doing but now Al's gone back and learned Chris' stuff and Jeff's stuff and I'm onstage and it's such a rise for me because I'll close my eyes and be playing and it's like back right there with Chris on my side or Jeff. You hear this stuff and its amazing to feel it because it's like my good ol' times, you know? I think the fans are aware of, the ones that have seen us live, how talented Al really is.

The Rack: So tell me about some of the new material on the upcoming Sanctuary album?

DM: It's already all over Napster. Go check it out. I don't hate Napster, in fact I think that it's good that we have four songs that are on there right now. There's one song in particular, "Disconnect" that we are releasing on a radio promotional sampler that will end up on there soon too. We re-cut "Moto Psycho" and did some editing. There's a song called "Burning Bridges" and there's a song called "Recipe for Hate... Warhorse." We haven't done a "dot dot dot" in a while, which is actually called an ellipse. [laugh] With this record I just said, basically, "You know what? Fuck it. We're just going back to what we know," and I know what I'm doing and I'm doing what I know. I produced the record by myself, had a guy, a great engineer named Bill Kennedy work with me and co-produce it. Did it at a studio called A&M that got bought by Jim Henson, so now we went back to replace the four songs and there's a 40 foot Muppet on the top of the roof there, it's Kermit. Yeah, so we were a little surprised when we went in there. It went from being A&M to being E&M, for electric Muppets or something like that. And we mixed it at a place called Scream in Studio City and then mixed four new songs at a placed called Enterprise, where we actually did Countdown and Rust in Peace.

The Rack: So you're going back to some of the vibe from 10 years ago, right?

DM: I don't know if going back is the right word. I mean, for all intensive purposes it is going back to that, but we never really left it.

The Rack: So now that you guys are with Sanctuary, will you be picking the singles and making all the decision about the how the albums are albums marketed?

DM: No, I don't want to pick the singles. I write the songs and they get to pick it. They're much more experienced with it. The guys from Sanctuary are just fabulous. The great thing about this is that the first time we met Ron Smallwood, we actually talked to him about him managing us. And then we kinda went a different route. I have the utmost respect for him because of the worldwide success of Iron Maiden. Granted we're bigger than Maiden in America, but you've gotta think of the globe, you can't just think of a country. And we're a band that's international. We're not just an American band. When I found out that Ron had a label and he said, "We want to sign you guys," I thought, "Yeah, whatever," because we were thinking of going to a major and getting a lot of money and a lot of this and that. And then we went to all the majors and talked to them. Some knew how to handle us, some had the money, but none of them had the money and knew how to handle us. We go to Sanctuary, they've got the money, they've got the credibility, they know us. We were sitting at lunch and they said put Vic back on the cover. I said, "Twist my arm." They said, "We want the old logo back, we want it to be heavier." I was like, "Okay." "We want you to get your own label. We want you to go back and remix some of the old classic records, because you're a great record producer," and I'm thinking, this is pretty cool 'cause this is a time where I'm questioning my career. I'm in an industry where they don't understand us anymore and then you've got a label that's solely about making heavy music, and granted they're brand new in America with only a couple of records under their belt, but I think it's gonna be a great mutual relationship where we're both benefiting each other because we've brought them a lot of credibility. And they're doing everything we asked. Capitol, if you wanna believe this, just passed on putting out a DVD for us. They gave all rights to Sanctuary. So the beauty of that is instead of having a DVD that you'll never be able to find, Sanctuary is gonna make it available around the world and done right.

The Rack: Wow! So tell me more about the DVD!

DM: It's got all 25 videos. That's what's so weird that they passed on it. We did all 25 videos, with alternate versions, but also David Ellefson driving through Hollywood in his convertible saying, "I kicked Chris Poland's ass here, I beat him up here, we through this girl out in the bushes I was living with because she was drunk, and here's the air conditioner that I threw the flower pot at with Dave and here's my apartment and his apartment and here's where we used to go get methadone, and we used to score here. And the car got towed there." All this stuff. It's an amazing opportunity for fans to see history from day one with David Ellefson and Dave Mustaine. All the way up until now. And they passed on it because they didn't want to pay for it. And I'm just thinking, "Thank you." I'm just really grateful because they weren't gonna be able to do us justice. On the outside it seems really petty, but on the inside it's like they were saying, "Look, I respect you enough, we've had a long relationship, but we can't give you what you need. Here have them do it. "We just had an opportunity to do a VH1 "Behind the Music" too. And me and David Ellefson were in it. My godfather Alice Cooper is supposed to appear in it. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich agreed to be in it. Chris Poland, who at first said he wasn't gonna be involved with the DVD, agreed to do VH1, which I'm really happy about. Nick Menza said he would do it. Marty Friedman's gonna be in it. They're interviewing my sister too. We're talking to VH1 about the opportunity of getting a long form out.

The Rack: A lot of your material seems to be socially and politically inspired. True?

DM: "Kill the King" is a political song. I wrote that song in Tokyo when I was watching the Republican debate between McCain and Bush and I thought, "Good God, McCain ain't gonna be the president because he's too unpredictable and I don't see Bush having trouble with Al Gore because it just ain't gonna happen." If Al Gore had stuck with Bill Clinton all the way through and not alienated him I think he would've been President right now. And the whole thing that happened in Florida was great material to write songs. Like, maybe Florida can't count or something. There's a lot of political songs on this new record, a lot of social stuff. The album is called The World Needs a Hero and will be out May 15th in the U.S. and May 14th everywhere else. Japan gets an additional track, because they always do and it's called "Coming Home." And, no, it wasn't inspired by Motley Crue!

The Rack: So how did the Maximum Rock Tour with Motley Crue go for you guys?

DM: That was really weird for us... something really weird happened down in Mexico on the Maximum Rock Tour. We're playing and the fanaticos are going crazy and there's this guy in the front row and he's lifting up his shirt and it says Megadeth and he's flipping me off and he's yelling between songs and he's going psycho. I said, "Chico, tranquilo." Which meant, "Hey buddy, just cool out a little bit we'll get to it." Evidently, we left and Motley hit the stage. And they were chanting Megadeth and that one guy is taunting Nikki so Nikki jumped off the stage and hit the kid in the head with his bass. Vince jumped in after him. And these two guys are trying to beat up this kid. The guy was tiny, too. I remember exactly who he was. They said, "This is our last song," and left the stage. The fans started burning cushions and heaving them at the stage and chanting our name for like five minutes. The Crue said it was about 15, but when you're on the team that's sorta been heralded as the good guys, everything gets a little bit more exaggerated. It was about five minutes. Then they came out and sang going home or coming home or on my way or whatever that song is.

The Rack: "Home Sweet Home"?

DM: Yeah, yeah." Home Sweet Home." And they went back to the dressing room and back to the hotel. And we heard about it in the airport the next day and Nikki was like, "Yeah, it's just like the good ol' days." And I'm thinking, you just assaulted a guy with a guitar, and that's the good ol' days? I was so surprised because I have respect for Nikki. I think he's a great businessman and he's done well with what he's done and he's had a lot of success. I was just little surprised. It's sad because when they were on, they were really on.

The Rack: Sounds like they pulled some rock star shit.

DM: In our press release, I said that Axl Rose killed the rock star. And I believe that many people don't tolerate rock stars anymore because that whole period of two years of rock stars not showing up for things. It just made people say, "You know, screw you. I'd rather have normal guys up there." And these bands do music that's not really special music. Forty or fifty bands that sound the same. The guy that's the front man looks like you should be asking him how much the pizza is. He would come up to you and say, "Can I check your oil?" That, to me, has really hurt the music industry. There' s a guy in Buckcherry that I guess is very rock star-ish as a frontman. And the music industry needs more personalities like that. I think frontmen need to be something very special. When I grew up listening to music, there was a community vibe. You'd go to concerts and, yeah, you have a little bit to drink, you have a little bit of that, you'd be looking at your friends and looking at the girls and having a good time. I was just thinking of that yesterday driving up from San Diego. When's the last time a girl drove past me and lifted up her top? I mean, you can't do that anymore because of road rage. Some asshole would follow her into the woods and kill the girl. And it just gives you an idea of our society and the world really needs a hero. When I was wasted playing, we never cancelled any shows. I mean, there was one show when we did Monsters of Rock that we had to cancel, and that was because David Ellefson had come out of the closet as being a junkie and he couldn't find any dope. Now I learned how to get high when the heroin ran out, you drink like a fish and eat Codeine - laced aspirins over in England. And we were in Europe and you know, the dope ran out and I was okay but he wasn't and we came up with some story that he sprained something and we all went home and went to treatment.

The Rack: So what do you think of the whole controversy between Metallica and Napster?

DM: I think it's a very confusing issue. I know how Lars feels. I myself believe that it's important for fans to hear music. I don't think that the guy that created Napster set out to really hurt anybody I don't think that's what its about. And you're talking about a band and a genre where tape trading was really one of the primary ingredients. And for me, when I hear tapes of bands that Lars had made that I really liked, I got the record. But for me, if someone goes and listens to the music at Napster or Gnutela or any of the other places that you do file swapping, you know, I'm okay with you listening to that. But if you're burning CDs of my record and selling them I'll hunt you down and kill you.

The Rack: Do you use Napster?

DM: I don't do it myself.

The Rack: Do you care if your fans do it?

DM: I think that the fans that are really fans of ours, they're not trying to hurt us. And I think that people that go out there and download our entire catalogue and have it on their hard drive, I mean, how many dudes do you see going down the street with their skateboards and a laptop? I mean, if you really, really love music and you know the difference between and MP3 file and an ASCII file, which are the files on CD's, you'll know the difference and that the MP3s don't sound as good. Trading isn't the problem. The problem is when people have high - level productivity to manufacture records with inferior goods that are disguised as official merchandise. It kinda puts a smear on us.

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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