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

Rust in Peace

taken from Music Connection, September 1990
Eric Niles talks to Dave Mustaine


In Simpson-ese, Dave Mustaine is "an intense dude, man." After his bone crunching introductory handshake and 70 minutes of conversation no less controversial and jarring than his music, it became clear to me why the red-maned Mustaine has the reputation as the Metal Mozart.

Like Mozart, Mustaine's obsession with perfection has left his visionary musical trail littered with ex-band members, empty heroin syringes and a host of enemies. On the other side of the ledger, he has left behind a string of three groundbreaking albums in a genre (speed metal) that he, along with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica, almost single-handedly helped to define.

After a story yet seminal stint with a pre-vinyl Metallica, a period that Mustaine calls "magical yet impossible," Mustaine broke ranks to form Megadeth in 1983. Although underpublicized and admittedly less proficient than Metallica at that stage, the band's 1985 debut waxing, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! (Combat Records), raised enough hell to garner the band a deal with Capitol. The resulting Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? LP impacted the thrash metal scene like acid did the hippies. Both Peace Sells... and the band's next platter, So Far, So Good... So What!, went gold, but inner squabbles, escalating drug use and a grueling world tour in 1988 effectively kept the band silent for the past two years.

Showing no ill effects from yet further wholesale lineup changes, (guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza), Megadeth recently forged its fourth LP, Rust in Peace. Still firing away with enough angry expletives to sink a small armada, Dave Mustaine may be a little older and a little wiser from the journey, but he sure hasn't mellowed. "I'm a fucking madman," emphasizes Mustaine. "I've got a raging ego and no self-esteem. If somebody doesn't do what I want, I get pissed."


Eric Niles: During that early eighties period when you, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich were hanging out, what motivated you to take a stab at speed metal?

Dave Mustaine: Peppermint Schnapps... Mickey's Big Mouths... Vodka and tomato sandwiches.... Musically, what inspired us was the new wave of British heavy metal bands: Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Witchfinder General, Angelwitch.

EN: What were the early days of the scene like?

DM: The whole scene was very explosive in the years that we started the American thrash metal thing. Back then, there were basically four bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus and Slayer. We were the forefathers. We nurtured the whole scene.

EN: Does it bother you that you're still referred to as an ex-Metallica member?

DM: No. I'm one of the few people in the world that is responsible for this whole scene. And that's a very bold statement to make. In the beginning, I was the guitar player in Metallica, Hetfield was the mastermind behind the lyrics and Lars was back there banging on his drum set. We gave this style of music a format and a direction - I'll always be proud of that. It was like the town wasn't big enough for the three of us [Mustaine, Hetfield, Ulrich]. There was just too much personality. It was like having three Dr. Frankensteins in one band. Anyway, it all came to a head one day when James kicked a dog of mine. We were all really plowed at the time - we always were. Anyway, one thing led to another and I hit James in the face. He told me to get my shit and get out. I told him that he couldn't fire me because I had already quit. In retrospect, James and Lars were really focused in their own way, and I wasn't. I begged to differ with almost everything just for the sake of being argumentative. But that's me. I'm a sarcastic fucker.

EN: It seems to me that one major difference between you and competing bands is your anger and the way it's channeled. For instance, "Peace Sells" was such a great song because it expressed that anger so simply and precisely, with no bullshit.

DM: That song was written in two days. At the time, I was really pissed off at Combat Records and I wanted to tell them how I felt. Yeah, the music is like safety valve. If I don't let it [anger] out, I'll explode. I look at it this way: My guitar has never let me down. It doesn't have a mouth. It never has a headache. I get off on it every time. When I quit, it quits. The guitar is the easiest way for me to get my point across to somebody. If people piss me off, I react by playing.

EN: I hear you're hard to get along with, and consequently, it's difficult for you to keep a band together.

DM: That may be true. I try and change people and make them more like myself. Because what I see in someone else that I don't like is usually what I don't like in myself. I really don't give a fuck what my reputation is, because I know what it's about and I can go in and out of character whenever I want to. A lot of the problem with the band in the past was that we were losing our intensity and things were getting a little hazy. On the road, things escalated from a small border skirmish into a full-on raging war. I think a lot of us were inconsistent because of the guy we were waiting for after the show.

EN: I assume you're talking about the guy who sold you drugs?

DM: Yeah. Sometimes our gigs weren't that good, but the bus ride home sure was great. Success has a way of consuming you overnight, and it can do it to anybody. I'm not going to say I'm religious, but I've got a spiritual trip going now that keeps me out of being so self-abusive. I don't go to church, 'cause I don't need that shit. But I know that there's someone looking after me, 'cause I would have overdosed a million times. basically, the alcohol and the pot escalated into heroin. Believe me, you can't replace heroin with alcohol. Inn the long run, what I did to myself prior to 1990 was degrading to my reputation and detrimental to my health. It was fun while it lasted, but it doesn't work anymore.

EN: You seem to have forget a new beginning for Megadeth. Tell me about the new band.

DM: I can't put a finger on who is the weakest link in this band - which, for once, and hopefully forever, will remain a mystery. Ultimately, I'm the weakest one. I'm compelled to think that way. But my self-esteem tells me that I'm the best at what I do - besides James Hetfield, that is. I think that James and I are very much the same man. I think we grabbed an angel, split him in half, and both of us are possessing that power. The only differences between the two of us is that he's taller and his guitar is white and mine black. Anyway, Marty Friedman is one of the best guitar players around. For him to adapt to the Megadeth style was natural for him 'cause he liked the format of the rhythm structuring and the opportunity to play his weird fucking Middle-Eastern scales. Nick Menza is a better drummer than both Gar Samuelson and Chuck Behler. All that remains for Menza is to see if he can hold his own live. And finally, David Ellefson. I've tried to get rid of him, but I can't. In this genre, there's nobody who can touch Dave Ellefson.

EN: Was there a theme associated with the Rust in Peace project?

DM: We didn't have a theme for this one. It was just get it out. We worked with Mike Clink on the production. He's the best producer I've ever worked with, and I'm looking forward to working with him again. The record was mixed by Max Norman. It ha s over 40 minutes of original material, more than any other Megadeth album.

EN: You seem to have a reputation as an "angry genius." Is that accurate, or are you misunderstood?

DM: I'm more interested in understanding people than having people understand me. I don't give a fuck if someone understands me. The difference between how I have been in the past and how I am today is I have releases now. Whenever I'm really angst- out, I skydive or go to my kickboxing classes. I don't take things so seriously anymore. I don't see some guy walking down the street and have this superior attitude like I could can him like tuna, beat him like a stepchild and make him run like cheap paint.


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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