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

So Far, So Good... Now What?

taken from RIP, December 1995
Katherine Turman talks to Dave Mustaine


Phoenix, Arizona - it's 104 in the shade, and inside the air-conditioned comfort of Megadeth's specially built recording studio, Dave Mustaine is raising the indoor temperature on his own, spewing fourth funny, passionate and heated discourse on everything from fatherhood to Metallica to miniature golf (the windmill always gets him), to, of course, Megadeth and their new Max Norman-produced opus, Youthanasia.


Katherine Turman: Youthanasia has a different overall vibe; was it more of a group effort? Did you encourage the other members to bring in songs and ideas?

Dave Mustaine: Sure, as long as it's good. If not you're just bringing dog shit into the room. You know, I mean it smells, everyone notices and they try to act coy and everyone's kinda hemming and hawing as to who's gonna tell you that it stinks. And there's been a lot of times stuff has come in that has been pretty down right horrible. You know but it's like it's a music process. I mean some of this stuff would be great for a pop band or an industrial band or something like that, but that's why we need to have some creative control, quality control. Thank God I'm the one that's in charge of that. you know, because it's consistently one person. The record would sound very different if I wasn't in charge.

KT: Are there often times when its three against one?

DM: Yeah, but my one equals three so we're all even! It's like tetrarchy. You know, we have to think about what our motives are for this stuff. If it's just getting your riff into a song, then you have to question whether or not you want to stay in this band, because it's not all about songwriting and publishing. And you see a lot of bands that will break up over shit like that. I could give a fuck. I'm getting paid the way I should be paid. The band's getting paid the way they should be paid. We get adulation from our fans, which is more important than money. You know, when we start writing music for money, then it's time to hang it up. Because one, as soon as you start making more money, you start spending more money. You change from driving a car that uses regular to premium. Your zip code changes. You still love macaroni and cheese, but you know, I find myself spending a little bit more on food now. You got to watch things. It's just like with anything. Too many cooks boil the broth; you know that old saying. We're all good cooks, but this isn't like one of those food courts where you can get four different things at one place.

KT: In the song "A Tout Le Monde," you talk about the sense of accomplishment. Do you feel there's a lot left to do? Do you look back and feel pride - I would hope - or do you look back and thing "I could do do more, and I will"?

DM: To a degree I have some pride about that, but my pride has been one of my biggest personal defects. I still feel that there's a lot that I need to accomplish and I know that by me coming so close to tying last year that, well what would have I explained if I'm sitting up in heaven strumming a guitar? "Yeah, I was just about to make it real big when I fucked up, got loaded and died." You know, you're sitting there talking to half of Kurt Cobain's head.

KT: Did your "near-death experience" help you come to terms with your own mortality, or did having a kid do that?

DM: They took me to an emergency room and I was dead when I got there and they brought me back. I don't know what they did. They made a deal with God, I guess. I have no idea.

KT: So what's your part of the bargain - your deal with God?

DM: I don't know. Maybe not to trash dressing rooms anymore. I don't know. Well, my deal is no deal because I'm already deeply in debt to my creator. I'm not just one of those armchair quarterbacks or a weekend warrior. My faith has been restored in a creator that's given me a lot of good stuff. The gift that I have in me is like I'm better at writing music for this particular genre than just about anybody. You know there's only a couple other musicians that write music for this genre who are equivalent to me.

KT: And who might they be?

DM: Well, I'm not going to be giving anybody blow jobs in your magazine. You know; figure it out for yourself. There's a lot of people out there that are real similar to me and that probably played with me at one time or another. There's a clue. And particularly with this type of music style. We've got so many bastard children out there that we've spawned into the music business, whether by sponsorship, by endorsement, by influence, or by abandonment.

KT: The lyrics in "Addicted to Chaos" seem very personal. Was that song written shortly after your experience?

DM: No. The fucking irony of that song is the subject of it is my drug counselor who got me sober. When he said that I would walk alone, it was after counseling me for a period of time, and he said "You know I'm gonna have to cut you loose some day." The finality of it was two puncture wounds in his arm and an overdose on heroine. My drug counselor died. No one's safe from that disease - those who have that disease. This isn't a sobriety interview. Never again. That's very personal.

KT: Do you regret being so open about it in the past or is it very cathartic for you?

DM: I don't regret nothing. There's nothing I've done. I've got to think twice about getting myself kicked out of Metallica, but I don't regret the point that James kicked my dog and I smacked him and I got fired. It's like cause and effect. It was a juggernaut. It's like if you eat chicken vindaloo you get the runs. I was just something that happened. Everything that I've done, I've been responsible for. Being of sound mind when I do it, how could I regret it? I mean there are certain things and times when I've taken advantage of learning from. And I'm grateful for the learning experience and I regret nothing.

KT: In the last R.I.P. feature you said something like 'things couldn't get any better.' Everything was so rosy at that point. Are you still feeling the same way?

DM: Things got better. I'm waiting for my shit to be gold cupcakes. I keep thinking that it's not going to get any better and it just keeps getting better. Now I look at these superstars who are miserable and I think, "Gee, that's how I must have seemed." I got stopped this morning twice to sign autographs within the course of maybe 10 minutes. I used to kind of look at that like, "Why doesn't this happen more often?!" And then I was thinking, "God, I'm really uncomfortable. People know who I am and I can't go anywhere." I expect one of these days to be driving down the road with my finger up my snoot and someone takes a picture of me diggin' in my nose. You know "Oh, I've got a picture of Dave...!" It's just one of those things where privacy gets compromised. My wife decided to take all of the curtains off our house and put shutters up. Little did I know that there was going to be nine weeks with no curtains. So if I get up in the middle of the night to pee and I'm running to the bathroom naked and if there's flashes and it's not lightning I'm gonna be really bummed.

KT: Yikes. So you're a full time Arizona resident now? Was that to get away from the madding crowd and influences of Los Angeles?

DM: You know I said it was, I don't even know anymore now. I think it was the direction I was forced into. I don't know if you've ever read the book "The Celestine Prophecy"? Well, it's about how destiny is letting yourself go with the flow, and fate is interfering and changing it. I think it was my destiny to do that, because when I went up to northern Arizona to go get myself sorted out, I was so far gone when I got there, after eight days of being there I finally recognized what had happened; I looked out the window and I said, "Fuck, I'm in the middle of the desert. What am I doing here?" I thought I was reincarnated as a coyote or something. I was just having one of those really bad Doors flashbacks, you know? Then I got to really like it you know cause it's hot, it's dry, it's scenic, it's rustic. It's America.

KT: Speaking of the madding crowd of LA, how do you remember the "good old days" of the Hollywood music scene?

DM: I remember when Guns N' Roses just came on the scene and I used to listen to 'Mr. Brownstone' every day after I scored heroine. I'd hear it on KNAC and go "all right, these are my kind of guys, me and Keith Richards and Guns N' Roses." You behave like that and it's gonna come around. Ratt said it best.

KT: What goes around comes around?

DM: That's another band that a lot of unfortunate luck happened to. Stephen [Pearcy] is a unique guy, Warren [DeMartini] is a great guitar player, Robbin [Blotzer] was pretty cool and Juan [Croucier]... seemed like a nice guy. When I was in Metallica we used to play with Ratt and they fucked us so we played at some roller rink or something in Orange County. I think Vixen played with us. I remember when Yngwie came to town with 666 on his cabinets, and we were all in San Fran before we did Kill'em All, Lars was going, "Fuck, this guy's so great."

KT: What part of the band process gives you the most joy? Or what did on this record?

DM: Driving home from the studio! Doing a lot of vocals, because obviously you hear the vocals have changed a lot and I've really let loose and done what I wanted to do all the time but was afraid to do.

KT: How did you overcome that fear?

DM: Do it and figure,"'Fuck you if you don't like it." It's like the first time you go to the bathroom in front of your significant other. You figure it's inevitable. I'm not into body functions in front of my wife all the time but sometimes you can't help it and it happens. How did we get on this subject? Now, to make a point, when you expose yourself... "If you really like me, this is me." You're gonna let people see who you really are... When a woman wakes up next to a man without makeup, that's when she's really showing herself. And when the guy starts putting the seat down, that's true love. Of course, gentlemen know to do that in the first place.

KT: What is the political meaning of Youthanasia?

DM: There's a phantom government; the president dies, government goes on. I'm not interested in man's government any more. They said there would be only be eight world powers in the Bible. The eighth world power is the United Nations. What's next? Nothing, according to the bible. The UN sucks. This Bosnia thing. Yawn. Go in and kill those fuckers already. Either do that or leave them alone. We have no right going over there. We have enough problems here at home. That's what Youthanasia is about. It's the fact that our government has a long, aquiline, pointy-ass nose and it sticks way over the border, and we focus on too many issues that have nothing to do with the American people. We got the title from Doctor K. [Kevorkian] I opted to etch out the E [in euthanasia, which means mercy killing], spray paint 'Yo' over it in a grafittiesque manner to make it dig to the fact that euthanasia has been reserved for young people, the fact that government and parents are pushing their children away. American children are pretty much a template for youth around the planet. When you look at the fact that the government of the US doesn't give a shit about young people... It was like pulling teeth to get any respect from the Republicans, the Democrats were cool to us, but there's still bureaucratic red tape, and you look at the fact that rednecks and middle America don't give a shit about young people, and all other cultures look to America. So what happens? We're setting a stage and putting out a picture that life sucks in America when you're young. Get loaded and kill people.

KT: We're running low on time, how about some quick questions? First question: Did you consider any cover songs for the record?

DM: No. Yes. 'Mother's Little Helper' by the Stones. We blew it off.

KT: Are you okay with the level of success the band has had?

DM: I was okay with the level of success when we first started. I don't give a shit. I'm just happy to be here.

KT: Have you ever thought about life without Megadeth?

DM: Yeah. You want a simple fucking answer?

KT: I have 15 minutes 'til I have to leave for the airport.

DM: It would probably be me a little bit older, the band having peaked, us knowing when the time is to put a hold on things. There's nothing worse than a band continuing when they should quit. Ronnie James Dio is a perfect example of that. His fans and press are killing him. I dig Ronnie. He's a great guy, but people are chewing him a new asshole, and I feel sorry for that. When we start catching flack for being around too long when we should have hung it up... I heard something about Styx doing a concert in Canada that got a one-word review: "Stynx". That would make me question what I'm doing for a living.


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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