Megadeth vs. Metallica


Dave and James :: In the Beginning :: Two Great Bands :: Jason Newsted talks about Megadeth
Metallica Songs by Dave Mustaine :: Song Similarities

"To very very large degree, Megadeth and Metallica both are responsible for almost all of the great new metal bands out today." (Mustaine, 1998)


Dave and James

"I think that James and I are very much the same man. I think that we grabbed an angel, split him in half, and both of us are possessing that power." (Mustaine, 1983)

Dave and James, 1982 - friends

Dave and James, 1982 - friends

"Dave was all speed. He had no feeling, he had no pull-offs, he had no brilliant things. He tried to get brilliant sometimes, but it would sound awful." (Hetfield, 1983)

Dave and James, 1996 - enemies

Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield, 1996 - enemies
How things have changed.

"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." (Mustaine, 1998)

"James and I have always been the main thing in this band, and we always looked at Dave and Ron [McGovney] and thought, 'This is fine for now, but... ' We had a vision and these guys weren't gonna last. We weren't gonna kick them out, but if we happened to find someone who could fit in, we get'em in the band." (Ulrich, 1983)


In the Beginning

Dave tearing it up.

"I was convinced that I should be in the band and went to rehearsal. I was tuning up when all the other guys in the band went into another room. They weren't talking to me, so I went in and said, 'What the fuck? Am I in the band or not?' and they said, 'You've got the gig.' I couldn't believe how easy it had been and suggested that we get some beer to celebrate." (Mustaine)

"Dave came into the picture after the first 'Metal Massacre, ' after we fucking had that first song on vinyl and shit. We'd seen him in the 'Recycler, ' gave him a call and fuckin' tried him out. It was pretty interesting, pretty much the first lead guitarist in the band." (Hetfield, 1988)

"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." (Mustaine, 1990)

"He had no idea about what our music's about, but he was very enthusiastic. It took him a rather short time to get to understand us, and that was even more cool since everybody else in LA at that time were nuts about doing a career, and imitating bands like Quiet Riot, Ratt and Motley Crue." (Ulrich)


Two Great Bands

"I miss them a lot. I comes and goes, and sometimes it's painful and sometimes it's very vindicating. I know there are two great bands now, but it makes me wonder if I was still in the band how much farther they would or would not have gone." (Mustaine)

"I think, though, aside from us [Megadeth], that Metallica are probably the best band at what they do. In the Eighties, we wrote a certain chapter - thrash/speed metal - but in the Nineties, it's the New Age of Heavy Metal. It's come full circle. It says in the Bible that a dog returns to its own vomit. Well, we're back to basic barf!" (Mustaine)

"Too much has been made of that shit. I told the truth - about how James ripped me off - but people didn't want to hear it. So I've learned to just forget it and move ahead. My attitude today is that two good bands emerged from that mess. Metallica are cool, but so are Megadeth. I think we can blow anyone away. We have a real commitment to our music, and that scares some people." (Mustaine)

Dave Mustaine

"I really don't want to start anything with them, I don't think there's any way to win that one for me. If I say nice things about them, I'm Iying. If I say bad things, it looks like l'm trying to generate some sort of publicity. So what I've done is try to avoid the subject as much as possible - which isn't easy. When I'm asked about their album, I tell everyone that I really like it, that it's a great album. But if they ask me about them personally, that's another matter. They're dicks who really don't know as much as they think they do. You've got to remember, they gave it to me pretty bad when I left the group. It's one thing to part ways and just bury the hatchet, but they were trying to bury it in my head. I know how they felt about me and tell anyone who'll listen that I was a drunk who was holding the band back - that was a load of shit. Things weren't going fast enough for them, so they blamed me. The good part is that now I have the chance to make them eat their words. I feel sorry for them because of what they've had to go through recently, but that really doesn't change my feelings." (Mustaine, 1987)

"A lot of that was just me getting frustrated and putting it all out at the one time. It was blown way out of proportion. At interviews, the guy would ask a question that he knew would get an answer that would make it look like I was angry with Metallica and I hated that. A lot of it was one magazine that wouldn't give up the issue until I went out of my way to resolve the situation. Now Lars Ulrich and I are good friends and we drink together. It's great that we can be friends now because when I was in Metallica, we argued a lot and that led to me drinking excessively which made the situation worse. That's in the past now and I want to look towards good things in the future." (Mustaine)

"Lars and I talk, Kirk and I have spoken, Jason and I used to be really, really close, but I haven't talked to him much lately, and James knows how I feel about him. I respect him a lot as a singer/songwriter, and I wish them all continued success - not for much longer though. God, please, go away you guys!" (Mustaine)

Dave Mustaine and Lars Ulrich

"I figure that Metallica are such an integral part of me - what they do, how they think - because of how we all started, these three minds. Maybe I'm flattering myself by drawing the comparison, but I think there are a lot of similarities that people deny. The mannerisms that James and I have on-stage, some are identical. A lot of the things Lars says are things I used to say. In those days I used to handle all the interviews. When I watch them, it's like I see a part of me, and I'm so happy for them... I talk to Lars all the time. For whatever reason, James and I haven't really sat down and ironed out the past. I was so hurt by getting fired with no warning that I had a lot of resentment. I was very jealous as I watched my baby go away from me. I watched their success for so long, and for the longest time I was so bitter. But then I realized that I still get royalties from the songs I wrote, and people still make the connection between us." (Mustaine, 1993)

"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 [I was fired from Metallica] 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." (Mustaine, 1998)

"I keep comparing Megadeth to Metallica. I realized that often people hate the things, which they really love. I loved to play with Metallica. When they kicked me out I lost something which I loved and I started to hate them. Now every morning I fall to my knees and thank God for being able to finally see this truth." (Mustaine)

"Lars [Ulrich] himself has baited me by saying he wishes I would be more experimental. Now, does he want me experimental as in kissing and frenching my lead guitar player or my drummer? Is he talking about painting my nails, wearing makeup and cutting off all my hair? I don't know, and if he'd like to see me get more experimental, I welcome his ideas. Maybe the two of us should play together again." (Mustaine, 1998)


Metallica and Megadeth played a few concerts together in Europe in 1993, including the famous Milton Keynes Bowl in June with Diamond Head, where Dave proclaimed:

"The ten years of bullshit is over between Metallica and Megadeth!"


"I would love to play together with James and Lars again, and have said so in interviews. Me and David Ellefson, James and Lars, doing half mega/half meta, James singing my songs and me singing his. That would be a riot. It could suck, it could be great, but I know that it would be fun for us all to get back to the day when metal was a 'way of life' and people looked to us all as their leaders." (Mustaine, 2001)

"I did see Lars say something in our 'VH1 Behind the Music' that they would like to do something together again. I guess I am just dreaming of better days when we were all metal. I am going back, they may too, I hope. But, doing this would blow everyone away." (Mustaine, 2001)


Jason Newsted talks about Megadeth

On the break-up of Megadeth and Dave Mustaine's injury that was cited as the official reason for the split:

"That's sad, man, really sad. Because it was forced... it's just really, really sad for someone who was such a prolific writer. He [Mustaine] really came up with some great stuff, you know. The actual fluidity and ability that he had on the guitar, just out-and-out speed, was pretty amazing. My old band Flotsam and Jetsam opened a lot of shows for Megadeth back in the day, and we spent a lot of time together, so I'm just sorry to hear about the whole thing." (Newsted, 2002)

On referring to Megadeth as a "watered-down Metallica" in a other interview:

"I think I was talking about Echobrain [Jason's band] and people being surprised by the sound of the band, that they wanted something heavier but still liked it. The most common response was, 'Wow, we wanted something heavier, but we still like it.' So I was saying that it would have been so stupid to do something predictable like a watered-down or wannabe Metallica, or rap-rock record, or something like that. And in that context, I said something to the effect that Megadeth was always just behind Metallica and always wanted to be Metallica. So I won't back off that. I think it's an absolutely true statement. But it's not a disrespectful statement. Mustaine was, and maybe still is, quite bitter about that, and he always wanted to achieve what Metallica achieved. They wrote great songs, made great records, but were never quite able to get to that pinnacle." (Newsted, 2002)

On the rumors about ex-Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson replacing him in Metallica:

"That would be pretty weird. It would be a good fit but only musician-wise. Dave is one of the best bass players that has ever been in metal, no two ways about it. I still look up to him. And he's a good guy, which is why I wouldn't wish it upon him. He could definitely handle the gig as far as the playing and the interviews and all that, but dealing with the inner workings, I don't know." (Newsted, 2002)


Metallica Songs by Dave Mustaine
Track: Written by: Released on:
The Four Horsemen Music, lyrics: Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine Kill'em All
Jump in the Fire Music, lyrics: Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine Kill'em All
Phantom Lord Music, lyrics: Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine Kill'em All
Metal Militia Music, lyrics: Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine Kill'em All
Ride the Lightning Music, lyrics: Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton, Mustaine Ride the Lightning
The Call of Ktulu Music: Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton, Mustaine Ride the Lightning

Dave Mustaine claimed to have written the main riff of Metallica's "Lepper Messiah" from Master of Puppets, but he never got credit.


Song Similarities
Megadeth Song: Metallica Song: Similarity:
Looking Down the Cross Ride the Lighting Riff
Mechanix The Four Horsemen Whole song
In My Darkest Hour For Whom the Bell Tolls Opening riff
Hangar 18 The Call of Ktulu Riff
Dawn Patrol The God That Failed Riff
This Was My Life Phantom Lord Bass riff
She-wolf Disposable Heroes Opening riff
FFF Motorbreath Riff
When The Call of Ktulu Opening riff
Go to Hell Enter Sandman Riff and lyrics


Dave and James :: In the Beginning :: Two Great Bands :: Jason Newsted talks about Megadeth
Metallica Songs by Dave Mustaine :: Song Similarities

The Realms of Deth
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