Megadeth Lyrics

Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! :: Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? :: So Far, So Good... So What! :: Rust in Peace :: Countdown to Extinction :: Youthanasia :: Hidden Treasures :: Cryptic Writings :: Risk :: Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years :: The World Needs a Hero :: Rude Awakening :: Still Alive... And Well? :: Other Songs

Countdown to Extinction

Countdown to Extinction

Vic Rattlehead


Skin O'My Teeth :: Symphony of Destruction :: Architecture of Aggression :: Foreclosure of a Dream :: Sweating Bullets :: This Was My Life :: Countdown to Extinction :: High Speed Dirt :: Psychotron :: Captive Honour :: Ashes in Your Mouth

Skin O'My Teeth

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine)

I had wrists donning slits
Flowing constantly
My broken body in a wreck
I'm wrapped around a tree
A crosswalk hit and run
The finish line for me
People clutter in the gutter
Take a look and see

No escaping pain
You belong to me
Clinging on the life
By the skin o'my teeth

My blood flows through the streets
Deluge from the wounds
Empty jar of sleeping pill
On the dresser in my room
My wet brain neighbor cranes
His neck to see in time
The white lights, a train
Bearing down on me

Solo - Friedman

I won't feel the hurt
I'm not trash any longer
That that doesn't kill me
Only makes me stronger
I need a ride to the morgue
That's what 911 is for
So, tag my toe and don't forget to
Ooh, close the drawer

Skin O'My Teeth

"MTV flipped when they saw the lyrics to 'Skin O'My Teeth' because they thought I was promoting committing suicide. It has taken us a long enough time to get our relationship politically correct with MTV. So I don't want to go out and film a video about a song that they are going to look at and say, 'You're nuts.' and if they say, 'Hey Dave, we're going to play your song, as radical as it is, but you have to go on there and say the song is not about suicide,' I'll say it. 'Hey, this song is not about suicide'." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This is a song about how many times I tried to kill myself and just couldn't get the fucking job done. This is 'Skin O'My Teeth!'" (Mustaine, in concert, 1992)

"That's about people who want to end it and just can't get it together. You know, they cut their wrist; it's just not deep enough. Or they decide to get hit by a car and it just breaks their leg or something." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This song in no way condones suicide. Life sucks that's why people get fat and lazy; this is Skin O' My Teeth." (Mustaine, 1992)

You've got to love those contradictory explanations.

"This was a fun video to make. We played live at this raging little club in Chicago called the Metro. The video crew were a bunch of maniacs running around the stage like little rodents. It was hard not to laugh as these crazy guys kept getting in our way." (Friedman, 2002)

Symphony of Destruction

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine)

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people's heads a'roll

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes,
Swaying to the symphony...
Of destruction

Acting like a robot
Its metal brain corrodes.
You try to take its pulse,
Before the head explodes.

Solo - Friedman

The earth starts to rumble
World powers fall
Awarring for the heavens,
A peaceful man stands tall.

Symphony of Destruction

"Basically what this song is about is, you take a person - a typical stereotype numbskull - and you give him the old shit, shower, and shave, throw him in a monkey suit and he can run the country. I mean, they got a monkey up there right now. As he starts to become more this political puppet, things start to get worse." (Mustaine, 1992)

"It's about the masses being led to their own destruction by a leader who's more or less a puppet of a phantom government. Just about every leader we've had that hasn't ended up with a bullet in his head is a political puppet." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This was really a stroke of luck for me. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Driving down Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake to my house and jotting everything that I could down on paper. I even wrote lyrics on the back of my arrest paperwork from the time I went to jail." (Mustaine, 2001)

"This was as close to a 'hit' as we got. The original version of this song was much longer but we edited a lot of it in pre-production for Countdown... I really like this as a Megadeth song because it is simple and the beat doesn't really change much. A solid track." (Friedman, 2002)


The Pied Piper quite obviously refers to the main character in the Robert Browning poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."

Architecture of Aggression

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson)

Born from the dark,
In the black cloak of night.
To envelope its prey below,
Deliver to the light,
To eliminate your enemy,
Hit them in their sleep,
And when all is won and lost,
The spoils of war are yours to keep.

Great nations built from the bones of the dead,
With mud and straw, blood and sweat,
You know your worth when your enemies
Praise your architecture of aggression.

Solo - Friedman

Ensuing power vacuum,
A toppled leader dies
His body fuels the power fire,
And the flames rise to the sky.
One side of his face a kiss,
The other genocide,
Time to pay with your ass,
A worldwide suicide.

Solo - Friedman

Born from the dark,
In the black cloak of night.
To envelope its prey below,
Deliver to the light,
To eliminate your enemy,
Hit them in their sleep,
And when all is won and lost,
The spoils of war are yours to keep.

"That was inspired by a book actually titled The Architecture Of Aggression, about the underground facilities used during the Nazi reign of terror. Many people have died in the architecture of a lot of countries. Yet it's just the leaders who are noted as so great in the struggle. The bible talks about the brick makers who stomped the mud and straw and would be left to die in the mud pits. Ultimately, the bricks would be made out of their sweat and blood." (Mustaine, 1992)

"Maybe my fave tune on the record? This also experienced the editing knife in pre-production and was shortened considerably. One of my fave vocals by Dave and also a real solid jammin' track." (Friedman, 2002)

This song was inspired by the massive bombing of Iraq on January 16, 1991 that initiated Operation Desert Storm. The sound samples at the end of the song are the voices of CNN correspondents (Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw) in Baghdad, Iraq, describing what they saw that night.

Foreclosure of a Dream

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson)

Rise so high, yet so far to fall.
A plan of dignity and balance for all.
Political breakthrough, euphoria's high.
More borrowed money, more borrowed time.
Backed in a corner, caught up in the race.
Means to an end ended in disgrace.
Perspective is lost in the spirit of the chase.

Foreclosure of a dream,
Those visions never seen,
Until all is lost,
Personal Holocaust,
Foreclosure of a dream.

Barren lands that once filled a need,
Are worthless now, dead without a deed.
Slipping away from an iron grip,
Nature's scales are forced to tip,
The heartland cries, loss of all pride.
To leave ain't believing, so try and be tried,
Insufficient funds, insanity, and suicide.

Solo - Mustaine

Now with new hope some will be proud.
This is no hoax, no one pushed out.
Receive a reprieve and be a pioneer.
Breaking new ground on a new frontier.
New ideas will surely get by.
No deed or dividend, some may ask "Why?"
You'll find the solution, the answers in the sky.

Solo - Friedman

Rise so high, yet so far to fall.
A plan of dignity and balance for all.
Political breakthrough, euphoria's high.
More borrowed money, more borrowed time.


Foreclosure of a Dream

"'Foreclosure of a Dream' relates to something that happened with my family back in Hartland [Minnesota]. The Foreclosure of a Dream can be for financial or spiritual reasons. More often than not it's financial. When that's the case, it has a lot to do with politics and bullshit of that nature. In this case it deals with losing a farm, but pretty much everyone in the country right now can relate to the crunch of the recession." (Ellefson, 1992)

"It's about what happened to my family under the Reagan administration. The government put my family, who were farmers in Minnesota, out of business." (Ellefson, 1992)

"The government dictates everything to us. What it can't get over on the black and Hispanic man, it gets over on the white. It's about reagonmics and how it took advantage of the real nucleus of America the farmers." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This was an unbelievably difficult album to make. Max Norman, Dave Mustaine and myself are all uncompromising perfectionists and when you get the three of us together in the studio doing guitars, it turns into a 'let's make it even more perfect' competition. At the end of the day, the record was damn near perfect, but making it was tedious and painstaking. On 'Foreclosure...' I was doing the clean acoustic guitar verses. Typically it takes a few minutes to play a part like that, but we were having problems getting a tone we liked and problems with string noise as well as tuning issues. It was an intense hard day. That said, I was alone in the studio with Max dealing with total guitar hell for the entire day. It was rough. We were in intense concentration so there was a sign on the studio door that said, 'Keep Out! This Means You!'. Despite this sign, a very well known, famous producer who will remain unnamed here, just opens the door and with a jolly tone in his voice says, 'Hey guys, how's it going?' People who know me know that my demeanor is usually extremely calm, cool and easygoing. But this day, despite the fact that this famous producer is one of my all-time favorite producers, when he walked in and said that, I shouted sharply at him, 'What the fuck, dude? You know how to read or what?' Aghast, he turned around and left the studio. The intensity level was boiling." (Friedman, 2002)

Sweating Bullets

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine)

Hello me... Meet the real me.
And my misfits way of life.
A dark black past in my most valued possession.
Hindsight is always 20-20,
But looking back it's still a bit fuzzy.
Speak of mutually assured destruction?
Nice story... Tell it to "Reader's Digest"!

Feeling paranoid
True enemy or false friend?
Anxiety's attacking me
And my air is getting thin.
I'm in trouble for the things
I haven't got to yet.
I'm chomping at the bit
And my palms are getting wet,
Sweating bullets.

Solo - Mustaine

Hello me... It's me again.
You can subdue, but never tame me.
It gives me a migraine headache
Thinking down to your level.
Yea, just keep thinking it's my fault
And stay an inch or two outta kicking distance.
Mankind has got to know
His limitations

Feeling claustrophobic,
Lke the walls are closing in.
Blood stains on my hands and
I don't know where I've been
I'm in trouble for the things
I haven't got to yet.
I'm sharpening the axe
And my palms are getting wet
Sweating bullets.

Well me... it's nice talking to myself,
A credit to dementia.
Someday you too will know my pain,
And smile its blacktooth grin.
If the war inside my head
Won't take a day off I'll be dead.
My icy fingers claw your back,
Here I come again.

Feeling paranoid
True enemy or false friend?
Anxiety's attacking me
And my air is getting thin
Feeling claustrophobic
Like the walls are closing in
Blood stains on my hands
And I don't know where I've been
Once you committed me
Now you've acquitted me
Claiming validity
For your stupidity
I'm chomping at the bit
I'm sharpening the axe
Here I come again, whoa!
Sweating bullets

Sweating Bullets

"I think all of us are sweating bullets all the time. Society's a joke right now, and people are getting more and more hostile. When you think about having an evil twin or schizophrenia, I think a lot of us are schizo, because we live inside our heads. There's someone we all confer with; it's called our conscience. Some people cannot control their other side; it takes them over. Everybody has that psychotic side. Everyone has a thing that will make them snap." (Mustaine)

"I wrote that about myself. It was pointed out to me that I'm kind of schizophrenic and that I live inside my head. Which is something I don't subscribe to, but I enjoyed the theory nonetheless." (Mustaine, 1992)

"I got food poisoning from a Domino's pizza at the video shoot for this. Weird song." (Friedman, 2002)


Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that over 2% of all people in Western countries are thought to suffer from. "The symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, thought disorders, loss of boundaries between self and nonself, blunted or inappropriate emotional expressions, socially inappropriate behavior, loss of social interests, and deterioration in areas of functioning such as social relations, work, and self-care. Contrary to some popular accounts, however, schizophrenics do not have a 'split personality' in the sense of different personalities. The rare syndrome of multiple personality disorder is actually a variety of neurosis." (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

This Was My Life

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine)

It was just another day
It was just another fight
It was words strung into sentences
It was doomed to not be right

There is something wrong with me
There is something wrong with you
There is nothing left of us
There is one thing I can do

Lying on your bed, examining my head
This is the part of me that hates
Paybacks are a bitch, I throw the switch
Somewhere the electric chair awaits
Hey! This was my life
Hey! This was my fate

This was the wrong thing to do
This was the wrong one to be doing
This was the road to destiny
This was the road to my ruin

Now there's motives for the suspect
Now there's nothing left to say
Now there's method to the madness
Now there's society to pay

In our life there's if
In our beliefs there's lie
In our business there's sin
In our bodies there's die

Solo - Mustaine

This was my life
This was my fate

"Before my spouse, I had a relationship with a very charming lady that went awry. Every possible way you could wreck a relationship, I did. Many times I wanted to kill her or myself, and I knew that I would go to jail if I did, so I balked." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This was the first song to be mixed on the album. I remember all of us gathering at Mustaine's house for a band meeting and listening to the mix, and being excited about it." (Friedman, 2002)

"I had the very seedy, sordid love affair that took place over six years, and I've gotten a lot of great songs out of it. She's probably biting her nails, wondering what this album's gonna say about her! This particular song is about a time I wanted to kill her. I'm laying in her bed, and she's examining my head, and my feeling of being under her microscope is the part of me that hates. I know I'm going to get her back, but that when I do, I'm throwing my own switch on an electric chair, buying my own ticket. It's a confession of the madness I felt at the time." (Mustaine)

Countdown to Extinction

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson, Menza, Friedman)

Endangered species, caged in fright,
Shot in cold blood, no chance to fight.
The stage is set, now pay the price.
And ego boost, don't think twice.
Technology, the battle's unfair,
You pull the hammer without a care.
Squeeze the trigger that makes you Man,
Pseudo-safari, the hunt is canned...
The hunt is canned

All are gone, all but one.
No contest, nowhere to run.
No more left, only one.
This is it, this is the countdown to extinction

Tell the truth, you wouldn't dare.
The skin and trophy, oh so rare.
Silence speaks louder than words.
Ignore the guilt and take your turn.
Liars anagram is "lairs,"
Man you were never even there.
Killed a few feet from the cages,
Point blank, you're so courageous...
So courageous

"One hour from now,
Another species of life form
Will disappear from the face of the planet
Forever... And the rate is accelerating."

"The main idea came from Nick, who saw and article in Time magazine about these assholes who poach and hunt animals [like James Hetfield, for example?]. It disgusted all of us. These guys get ten to twenty thousand dollars per animal, depending on the rarity of the species. We all felt it was the perfect example of a society going mad, becoming extinct. Their big guns equal their big dicks! The whole thing we had in LA with those riots in an example of man heading toward extinction. Those riots were about depression, oppression, inequality and racism, about a prejudiced judicial system." (Mustaine, 1992)

"It deals with canned hunts in America's south - in Texas, for example, they cage exotic animals and drug them up. When they stagger out of the cage, hunters shoot them in the head, take a picture with the dead animal and say that they hunted in some exotic place." (Mustaine, 1992)

"The girl who did the spoken part in the middle is a friend of mine named Jun. She worked at a sushi bar near the studio so we asked her to come and record with us. She is a cool chick and I still keep in touch with her. This song won us the Genesis award, given out by an animal activist group. At the star-studded Hollywood awards ceremony Ellefson and I tried hard to contain our laughter as these TV and movie stars got up on stage and anthropomorphosised in their acceptance speeches. "I'd like to thank so-and-so, so-and-so, so-and-so, but most importantly of all, Fluffy and Fido, for their constant inspiration, blah, blah, blah..." (Friedman, 2002)

High Speed Dirt

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson)

Do it if you dare
Leaping form the sky
Hurling thru the air
Exhilarating high
See the earth below
Soon to make a crater
Blue sky, black death
I'm off to meet my maker

Energy of the gods,
Adrenaline surge
Won't stop 'til I hit the ground,
I'm on my way for sure
Up here in the air,
This will never hurt
I'm on my way to impact,
Taste the high speed dirt

Paralyzed with fear
Feel velocity gain
Entering a near
Catatonic state
Pressure of the sound
Roaring thru my head
Crash into the ground
Damned if I'll be dead

Jump or die!

Solo - Mustaine
Solo - Friedman

Dropping all my weight
Going down full throttle
The pale horse awaits
Like a genie in a bottle
Fire in my veins
Faster as I go
I forgot my name
I'm a dirt torpedo

Solo - Friedman

High speed dirt...

Solo - Mustaine

"Those of you who are friends of the band know that we like to jump out of motherfucking airplanes. This is a song about skydiving. This is called 'High Speed Dirt'." (Mustaine, in concert, 1992)

"This is a song about skydiving, obviously, and it's a quaint little colloquy about your parachute not opening and what happens to you... you hit the dirt at very high speeds and you die." (Mustaine)

"Skydiving has replaced a lot of the addictive feelings I used to have. Marty is the only one in the band who hasn't jumped yet, but he promises that when the album goes platinum, he'll do it... which means that even if I have to go out and buy a million albums I will, just to see that happen." (Mustaine. 1992)

"This song is about skydiving. I promised to go skydiving if this album went platinum. The damn thing went double platinum!! Thanks a lot! That said, skydiving was pretty fun..." (Friedman, 2002)

"That's about skydiving. Were all skydiving fools, except for Marty Friedman. And he made the terrible mistake of committing to skydive as soon as the record went platinum. And the record has thus gone platinum. So were going to take the platinum-plunge for MTV. Marty is a bit nervous." (Mustaine, 1992)

The album went multi-platinum and Marty did take the platinum plunge, they had a special on MTV for it.


(Music, lyrics: Mustaine)


Assassin in stealth
Assailant from Hell
Impervious to damage
Computer on board
Engaged in war
Non-stop combatant
Maybe not a mutant, maybe a man

Part bionic
And organic
Not a cyborg
Call him Psychotron

Burning inside
Godspeed in glide
Battle plan running
A killing machine
Just downright mean
And forever gunning
Maybe not a mutant, maybe a man

Target to destroy
Arms in employ
Full assault fire threat
Sensors indicate
You will terminate
Life systems disconnect

Solos - Friedman


"That's inspired by a great marvel comic, Deathlok, a guy whose brain and lungs were stuck into a cyborg's body. See, he was to be used as this ultimate killing machine and something backfired. But I was also influenced by something I saw on TV, about a brainwashing device called the Lida machine that they use in Russia. They put a microchip into the stem of your brain and they control your decisions. They were going to make the ultimate fighting machine a nonstop combatant impervious to damage and pain. And its recently come to my attention that the CIA has been deprogramming and relocating people for years. Nick Menza brought that to my attention. I wasn't really aware of that fact." (Mustaine, 1992)

"This is based on actual evidence that's come to light about the Russians using something called Lida machines. They transmit impulses to a microchip that's been placed in you nasal cavities or at the base of your brain. They jab this microscopic chip and control you from a central point. What they wanted to do is make nonstop combatants who wouldn't experience pain or hunger or remorse or fear or guilt. They reportedly made the implant on Jimmy Carter. Something supposedly went awry with it but, still, all of a sudden, he got sick and had to cancel his big summit talks. The theory is that some people in the Lida machine didn't want the summit to happen and were happy to let the Cold War continue." (Mustaine, 1992)

I think that Dave has been watching too many episodes of The X-Files.

"There is a killer remix of this floating around Germany somewhere, I don't know if it got released or not." (Friedman, 2002)

Captive Honour

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson, Menza, Friedman)

Madness comes, and madness goes
An insane place, with insane moves
Battles without, for battles within
Where evil lives and evil rules
Breaking them up, just breaking them in
Quickest way out, quickest relief wins
Never disclose, never betray
Cease to speak or cease to breathe
And when you kill a man, you're a murderer
Kill many, and you're a conqueror
Kill them all... Ooh... Oh you're a god!

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?"

"Yes we have you honor, we find the defendant guilty on all counts for crimes against all humanity."

"By virtue of the jury's decision and the power vested in me by the state, I hereby sentence you to be incarcerated with no possibility of parole, for life."

"Life? Whale' ya' mean life? I ain't got a life!"

"Boy, your soul better belong to Jesus, Hmmm-mmm, 'cause your ass belongs to me!"

Captive honour, ain't no honour

No time for questions
No time for games
Start kicking ass
And taking down the names
A long shit list
A shorter fuse
He is untouchable
And guarantees you'll lose

Solo - Mustaine

Inside the bighouse
His nightmare unfolds
Before he got there
His manpussy was sold
Black blanket welcome
This tough guy's now a bitch
Praying for death
It can't be worse than this

Solo - Mustaine
Solo - Friedman

"I had a counselor who spent a lot of time in jail. And he talked about the code of poke or be poked. These little kids come in there, all tough guys from the street. They throw a blanket over them and beat the shit out of them. And they become somebody's manpussy. And I just went like, 'Wow.'" (Mustaine, 1992)

"'When you kill a man, you're murderer...' - 'cause if I kill you, I going to jail, right? In war, if you're like Alexander the Great and you can go into a village and you kill everybody or you, like these unbelievable historical militant people, who've gone in and destroyed, entire populations, like, in the beginning of the world, in the medieval times, like Vlad the Impaler, Leif Eriksson - any of these guys that would do shit like that. Then you're great conquerer, because you've conquered the Romans, you've conquered the Persians, you've conquered the Greeks or stuff like that, right? Because you've come in and you've killed armies of thousands of people. You know, people think: 'He's great, he's like Caesar.' If you kill everyone and there is no people left in the entire planet - you're obviously a god, because no one else would have the power to be able to do all that and get away with that." (Mustaine, 2001)

"This song has a lot of our friends doing spoken 'cameos' so it's fun to hear their voices. That said, I was never the biggest fan of all the spoken parts in our songs, especially in the later albums." (Friedman, 2002)

This song is one of the most interesting songs Dave Mustaine has ever written, mainly due to it's deceptive and disturbing prologue which muses, "When you kill a man, you're a murderer. Kill many, and you're a conqueror. Kill them all... And you're a god!" However, the main portion of the songs simply describes and detests the horrible conditions in modern prisons.


Crimes against humanity, which were given rise to by the Nuremberg Trials following World War II, are violations of human rights of such an extreme nature as to warrant judgment and punishment by international councils.

Ashes in Your Mouth

(Music, lyrics: Mustaine, Ellefson, Menza, Friedman)

People have round shoulders
From fairing heavy loads,
And the soldiers liberate them,
Laying mines along their roads.
Sorrow paid for valor
Is too much to recall
Of the countless corpses
Piled up along the wailing wall.

Melting down all metals,
Turning plows and shears to swords,
Shun words from the Bible,
We need implements of war.
Chalklines and red puddles
Of those who have been slain
Destiny, that crooked schemer,
Says the dead shall rise again

Where do we go from here?
And should we really care?
The end is finally here
God have mercy!

Now we've rewritten history
The one thing we've found out
Sweet taste of vindication
It turns to ashes in your mouth

If you're fighting to live
It's OK to die!
The answer to your question is...
Welcome to tomorrow!

Solo - Friedman
Solo - Friedman
Solo - Mustaine

Where do we go from here?
God have mercy!

"It's about war and its spoils. Is crippling a country and looting its riches really worth it? For example, Saddam Hussein setting all those Kuwaiti oil wells on fire and the ensuing economic and environmental holocaust. Did the sweet taste of vindication turn to ashes in your mouth, Saddam? Yes, it did! And the LA riots, for example, many of the looters shown on TV were ultimately collared. So it wasn't worth it. The point is, sure, you can be angry and sock someone in the face, but at the end of the day, does it really feel good to hurt another human being?" (Mustaine, 1992)

"We played this live a lot and it was way fun. The ending harmony section was bumming me out in the studio because I thought the guitar tone of it wasn't up to the standard of the rest of the record. In mixing though, Max pulled out his magic and threw an interesting delay on the whole part which saved it, in my opinion." (Friedman, 2002)

This song is about general hopelessness for the future of humanity. The song says that since man has always turned to war in the past, war is the only thing that we can expect in the future. Therefore, we can anticipate Judgement Day and and hope that God will be merciful.

Skin O'My Teeth :: Symphony of Destruction :: Architecture of Aggression :: Foreclosure of a Dream :: Sweating Bullets :: This Was My Life :: Countdown to Extinction :: High Speed Dirt :: Psychotron :: Captive Honour :: Ashes in Your Mouth
Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! :: Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? :: So Far, So Good... So What! :: Rust in Peace :: Countdown to Extinction :: Youthanasia :: Hidden Treasures :: Cryptic Writings :: Risk :: Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years :: The World Needs a Hero :: Rude Awakening :: Still Alive... And Well? :: Other Songs

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