Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Clears Up Early ’80s Story He’s Been Telling Wrong This Whole Time
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. During the chat, the guitarist and singer clarified a story dating back to his days in Metallica that he had been telling incorrectly for decades involving members of Anthrax.
He mistakenly had been crediting Scott Ian as the one who took him to his house to get cleaned up and grab a bite to eat when Metallica made their very first trip across the country to the northeast.
Elsewhere, Mustaine, a cancer survivor, urged adult men to go for regular medical checkups and chastised the "tough guy attitude" of not wanting to go to the doctor.
Read the full interview below.
This lineup is such a good representation of the evolution of genre through different generations. What's consistent about the way each of the bands on this tour interprets metal?
I think it's the horsepower of the guitar and I think that you can see how the frontmen are mainly the difference. The approach toward the guitar is the same. I think with all four bands, it's basically beat your guitar to death.
You are not averse to building songs from unused riffs written throughout your life. What aspects of your youthful musical ideas are still central to the musician that you are now?
Wow, that's a very profound question. The things that are still relevant, musically, are when you pick up the guitar and you play that riff and you just stop. It's like when you get that look on people who are dog lovers — they know when their dog looks at them and they just look at them [back] like, "I understand you." You are playing a lick or riff or a power chord or something and the people that are around you just stop [and you see] their face —` they're not mouthing the words, but they're saying, "Hell yeah."
I think that happens with a lot of bands. There are a lot of bands that I like that are modern bands that have really great riffs. You've got these old bands that are 60, 70 years old that are heavier than any of us ever were. When you think about Blue Cheer and stuff like that... I didn't even know what that was. and to think that they had heavy metal back then, that's pretty cool.
Blue Cheer, Vincebus Eruptum
Megadeath songs are often attuned to the sociology and politics of the world. Typically, what stands out to you, especially now, that makes you think that's the basis of a song?
The political aspects, the economic stuff... you have to take it into consideration. I may be a successful musician right now and some people will slur me calling me a rockstar, but I look at it like this — I've been homeless, I've lived on the street, I've lived in the car, I've had to stand in line at the methadone clinic, I've been to jail, I know what it's like at both juvenile hall and adult jails...
I say all this, not to smear my name, but to say, "Who better to talk to you about what it's like when you're up in the middle of the night and the person you loved didn't come home, or you just don't want to go home to a person?" Or songs about how hard it is for us to get by right now, going into the stores and looking at the price of stuff. I just put some gas in my car this morning and it was over $5 a gallon in Tennessee. That's just mind blowing.
I think about that and I think about how to talk with my fans and not lose that connection. I just talk about life because we're all dealing with it.
You recently participated in Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp. How did jamming with people who don't play music for a living enliven you?
It was pretty cool. There were people of all different ages and walks of life. It was almost like the the Anthrax "grave" reunion while I was there. I was talking to somebody and all of a sudden this guy walks up to me and he goes, "Hey, Spitz." I've never met this guy before and then he says he's [former Anthrax guitarist] Dan Spitz's brother. He was saying, "We should do something together," and I'm thinking, "I don't know about that."
And, and then I'm outside doing the question and answer session with everybody and the first original guitar player from Anthrax shows up...
I've been telling this story wrong for a long time and I get to clarify this... I used to always say that when Scott Ian came and took me to his apartment when I was living in Jamaica, Queens with Metallica, all of us had been without a shower for a while and, and I used to always say that Scott once took me to his house to get cleaned up, we had a piece of pizza and got back to the rehearsal place... [back to the fantasy camp story] And, and the guy came up and he goes, "Yeah, well that was Danny Lilker that did that." And I thought, "Oh my God, what an idiot I am. I've been telling this story wrong for so long." So I wrote Danny up and I told him, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that."
"Holy Wars" Jam with Dave Mustaine at Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp
Throat cancer is a serious illness, especially for a singer. What do you now need to consider onstage in terms of the way certain songs might strain your throat?
There's a diet — the food sources and liquids — and how they affect my blood and my blood sugar, but I've never really worried too much about that because I kind of have just gone out there and screamed my point across. I'm cancer free now, thank God. I just went and saw my the radiologist and he told me October was the month that they had said that I was cancer-free. So I'm coming up on I think three years now.
I don't even think about it anymore. It was something that made me take into consideration life in general, not so much what I get to do onstage, but just how much do I really appreciate the people around me. How much do I have a capacity in my heart to tolerate people that get on my nerves? Am I going to send somebody away mad at each other and never see them again?
It's been a real real eye-opening experience. I just noticed on TV too that they're starting to do commercials about this type of cancer and I'd never seen this before in my life and now I'm seeing it on TV.
They never used to have these massive sicknesses where you have television commercials about throat cancer. It used to just be cancer, cancer, cancer, not into specifics like this. It's something really weird's happening. It happens to a lot of people, I'm told. I would just encourage people to be healthy, kick ass, take down names and if you're an adult male and you have any respect for yourself and the people around you that love you, go get yourself checked up.
I've noticed that guys who I know do not like going to the doctor.
I think that's the whole tough guy attitude. There's a stigmatism that if you go to a doctor, they're gonna stick something up your butt and I think that's one of the worst things that people misconstrue. It's not always, "Hey, turn your head and cough." I suggest if you go in for a sore throat and he checks your ass, you're in the wrong place, dude.
Thanks to Dave Mustaine for the interview. Catch Megadeth on the Metal Tour of the Year at these dates and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.