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

Foreclosure of a Team

taken from Metal Hammer, November 1998
Vinny Cecolini talks to Dave Mustaine



In October, 1998, Dave Mustaine is a happy man. With his personal demons firmly behind him, he and his legendary band Megadeth are currently enjoying their biggest wave of popularity. Still riding on the back of Cryptic Writings success, the band are finishing their touring commitments in support of the 1997 album. After performing a triumphant set at this year's Monsters of Rock in Sao Paolo, Brazil with Slayer, Manowar, Dream Theater, Savatage and Glenn Hughes, the band head south for another gig on the outskirts of the city before venturing to Argentina for a handful of dates. Following performances in South Korea and Japan, the band return home for a much needed and well deserved rest. This autumn they start work o n their next album, before heading into the recording studio in January for a tentative summer release.

The south American shows are the first dates Megadeth have played since Jimmy DeGrasso became their official drummer, replacing long-time sticksman Nick Menza. Although DeGrasso had filled in occasionally during the band's 98 tour while Menza tended to medical problems, Mustaine admits that the change was inevitable. He explains that he wanted to handle the split properly so that Menza wasn't left feeling as bitter as Mustaine was when he was thrown out of Metallica. It has taken the frontman a number of years, but he now believes he has found closure with Metallica and admits, "I would have fired me too." He also acknowledges that they have been an important part of his success.

Vinny Cecolini talks Megadeth past, present and future with the not-so-volatile frontman.

Vinny Cecolini : Megadeth seem to be touring forever in support of Cryptic Writings. Despite your wife giving birth to your second child, the band show no signs of slowing down.

Dave Mustaine: For me to have a family, I need to do what my talent is, and that's singing and playing guitar in Megadeth. In the past couple of years there has been a separating process between my family and musical life. I wish it would have happened earlier in my career because it makes it easier for me to go onstage and do my thing. Slowing down right now would be wrong; I've worked too hard to get this thing moving at a particular pace.

VC: What exactly have some of the other bands been doing since they arrived at the hotel in Sao Paolo? It seems like they've spent most of their time in Brazil at the hotel bar, while you arrived in town just hours before your set, checked into your room, quickly left for the venue, played your set, then was ushered back to the hotel mere minutes after leaving the stage.

DM: We actually got to the venue with enough time to say hello to the groups we wanted to. When we got back to the hotel, I spent an hour talking to the people in the lobby. Some of them I knew, others I didn't. Some of them were in bad shape. It's kind of weird to look at that whole genre of the '80s that I came though and not only see the condition of some of these people, but also their mindset and lifestyle. It's a continuum of the 1980s and that's sad. Especially when you know the person in side and they've totally lost sight of who that person was. All too often people begin to believe their own hype and become a parody of themselves. That's one of the things that scares me. If I ever start believing the hype again, I've headed down a dead end road.

VC: Is it true that you prevented Slayer from being part of the US version of the Ozzfest last year?

DM: I don't know how that rumor started. We wanted to be part of the Ozzfest and when we heard some of the other bands involved we [at first] declined. We don't have the power to disallow a band like Slayer to be part of something like Ozzfest. There are no problems between Megadeth and Slayer. 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. I think Slayer are a great band for what they do. They really seemed to have built this niche that they fill very well, especially during a time when it's getting increasingly difficult for a veteran heavy metal and hard rock acts to expand their audience. We've been lucky. We've lost some fans along the way, but when you lose one fan and pick up three it's a good exchange.

VC: Speaking of changes, Megadeth recently suffered its first line-up change in years when the band parted company with drummer Nick Menza.

DM: We just went our separate ways. Nick is a great drummer and he's a nice person. We wish him well in everything he does. We were just coming from two different places. I think that the fans and me, first and foremost, deserve to be happy. And I'm happy now.

VC: Megadeth have hired Jimmy DeGrasso, a gunslinger drummer with an extensive resume.

DM: Anyone who looks at his credentials knows he is a player and Megadeth is a player's band. 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 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.

VC: Megadeth's first line-up change in years must have felt weird.

DM: It was a little difficult for the first couple of days. It's still different as Jimmy becomes acquainted with the internal mechanisms of this machine. We've very grounded and routine. We're first class international band. We're introducing him to the inner workings of this band. I believe he's the type of guy who - to quote Marty Friedman - "deserves to be in a band where the fans care who the drummer is. Who is the drummer in A Flock Of Seagulls? Who is the drummer in Simple Minds? Who cares? But in Megadeth, everyone knows who everyone is." Forgive me for saying this, but it's like the Beatles or Kiss where each person is their own separate entity.

VC: That contrasts with the early days of the band, when you were, by far, the dominant personality.

DM: The press was hyper-focused on me in the beginning. Face it, [former drummer] Gar Samuelson and [former guitarist] Chris Poland didn't say the volatile things I was saying. It was probably because, when we all got inebriated, there were different chemical reactions in our bodies. When they were under the influence, they would go into a musical trance where they would want to listen to Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun" five hundred times in a row.

VC: You've successfully fought off your personal demons. Do you ever reflect on the person you once were?

DM: I'm still very capable of being that person. I have an allergy to alcohol. It makes me react in a very unpredictable and violent manner. I'm different from that now because I don't appreciate being around me when I'm like that. When I was do ing that it got to the point where I though, "I know it happens every time, why do I do this?" And I think that the fans right now are much happier that, I'm going to live and when they come to see us in concert, they're going to get a concert. Today I sing better, I play better, and I don't say the mean things I used to.

VC: It's quite ironic that people still say things like that to you after all these years.

DM: They think it's something that's going to bother me and it doesn't anymore.

VC: Weren't there times early on in Megadeth's career when journalists would wear Metallica T-shirts to interviews?

DM: It was to antagonize me, but what it says is "pay to the order of Dave Mustaine." I still make a lot of money off that band. And here's the catch: I owe a lot of my success to Metallica. A lot of people got to know who this ex-guitarist of Metallica is and they've opened so many doors for me and the other bands that are like-minded. I don't want to discredit my ability, I know the majority of our success is based solely on my songwriting, my hard work and the people I've chosen and their contributions. It doesn't bother me anymore. But for a long time it did. Like I said, not having closure made me wonder why for a long time. But when I got over the whys and figured out what led to it, I understood and agreed that they did the right thing. Not everybody has the mental fortitude to look within themselves for that long until they get the answer. People don't like the fact that I smile today. But if you stand on your head, I'll still be frowning so "fuck you." I know that every time I pair my self with another human being there is a relationship and it's up to me to control my part of the relationship. If it doesn't work out based on my behavior, then that's on me. I can't control what you think, I can't change what you think about me and for me to think that it's possible is severely disillusioned.

VC: You've become a lot more disciplined.

DM: I'm extremely regimented. Your body is like a fine timepiece. If you wire it everyday and it gets dirty and it's not properly maintained you will pay the price. If you maintain it, it will last forever and the maintenance fee will ultimately be less. The hardest thing about my physical regimen is when I associate it with other people's. I know what I need to do and I see what other people are doing to themselves and it's hard for me not to say, "if you want some help I can give you some guidance." I've been taking Chinese herbs for six years and I've been taking a lot of supplements to help me with my physical activities, as well as resting, stretching and cardiovascular exercises. I also do a lot of reading. I'm attending college right now, trying to get a business degree in management.

VC: Has touring become an endurance test for you?

DM: Actually, it was until recently when we made this much-needed line-up change, because the three of us - myself, David Ellefson and Marty Friedman - are very happy people. When you show up and are ready to do your gig and the other person isn't, or they are there but not part of it, it becomes difficult. This was something that wasn't only part of the performances but also in the individual interactions between the band members, the group as whole, the press, the record company and the world in general... We're really lucky to be doing something that we like.

VC: You rarely play material from you debut, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!...

DM: Every once in a while, we'll play something off that first record, but usually only if we do a third encore because of what went on with our career at that time. I believe the attorney we used was bought by Combar/Relativy [the band's origin al US label]. It was fairly apparent to anyone who saw the stipulations to the contract that this guy was not filling our best interests. He got an overwrite, the record company got an overwrite and the manager got an overwrite. What did we get? A huge dick up our asses. We went to the attorney's office fucked up on heroin. I slept while David Ellefson listened to this guy. Dave didn't know shit about law and when I woke up, the guy said sign here. David trusted me so we both signed in the same place.

VC: Have you had any contact with James Hetfield recently?

DM: When I found out that he had a daughter, I recognized her name, Cali Tee. It is the exact name of the Chinese tea I drink. It's made by the same company who makes the herbs I take. When I was in Santiago, Chile the other day I read in a magazine that Kirk drinks this stuff, too. When I found out that James had a daughter I got my ass in a car and I went to one of those big department stores in New York City, went into the kids section and I got him a little doll, a little book and a little outfit for his daughter. I put a little card in there and I figured that whether or not we ever meet again, it's not about me and James. It's about this beautiful little child. I don't know if he got it. I just wanted to let him know that there are no hard feelings and I'm very happy that he has the responsibility of being a father now, because it is a beautiful thing. I still love James very much. I respect his ability as a player and I miss him. But there was a reason why it ended. A lot of it had to do with drugs and alcohol on my part. He never did drugs. A lot of it had to do with the fact I was a violent asshole. He wasn't. He was a very gentle person when we were together although he enjoyed listening to very violent music. We would drive 60 miles an hour up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in the fog, drunk and listening to Venom.

VC: Ironically, Metallica and Megadeth seem to be the only veteran metal bands receiving regular airplay on commercial alternative rock radio stations in the US.

DM: Most alternative bands are just hard rock bands with a horrible singer talking about terrible dysfunctional lyrics. Alanis Morrisette is a great singer with a lot of talent - whoever wrote her songs did a very good job - but she should quit her whining. Steve Clark from Def Leppard was the most miserable millionaire ever. He had millions of dollars and was so miserable that he drank himself to death. It's sad because a lot of people think money is the panacea of the world and it's not. Happiness is. I've been able to find what I'm looking for. Although when you reach the top of the mountain, you discover that there are other mountains to climb.


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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