Dave Mustaine Looks Back on His Decision Not to Hire Dimebag and Vinnie Paul for Megadeth


If you’re a metal fan and you haven’t been in a coma for the past thirty years, you’re likely aware that back in 1988, when Dave Mustaine was putting together what would become the Rust in Peace-era line-up Megadeth, he tried to woo Dimebag Darrell to join the band. Infamously, Dime wouldn’t leave the pre-Cowboys from Hell Pantera unless Mustaine also hired his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, which Mustaine declined to do, because he’d already enlisted Nick Menza. So Mustaine went his way and the Abbott brothers went theirs and honestly everything worked out great for everyone.

Like I said, it’s an old story and it’s no secret or anything like that. Still, if you’ve never heard this story direct from the horse’s mouth, you may be interested to read this Tampa Bay Times interview with Mustaine, in which he re-tells the tale in the first person:

Were you and Dimebag Darrell into each other’s gear? Did you have different philosophies on the instruments you played?

“I did not. He may have, because he was a better guitar player than I am, and he was much more into that stuff. Being a bandleader/guitar player/rhythm player/lead player/blah blah blah, I don’t have the availability to spend as much time working on my solos as I’d like to. But I’m also very satiated with what I’ve done with my career.

“And with Darrell, when you look at his playing, he’s a monster. He’s one of those guys that in trios, with the bottom dropping out, he was really able to keep that going. Of course, on the studio releases, there was an additional track going, but live, that’s the real litmus test, right? And he was a spectacle to watch.

“I actually called him up and asked him to play in Megadeth. Fate would have completely changed if I would have called him before I called Nick Menza. I said, ‘Hey, Darrell, I’m looking for a guitar player.’ And he goes, ‘Can I bring my brother?’ And I went, ‘Who’s your brother?’ He goes, ‘Vinnie Paul! Don’t you know Vinnie Paul?’ He wanted to bring his brother and have him play with us, and I go, ‘Oh, man, I just hired Nick Menza.’ Can you imagine what Vinnie and Darrell would have been with me and Junior [David Ellefson]? Would’ve been pretty cool.”

Dave is right for once: it probably would have been pretty cool! Then again, if I had a time machine, I wouldn’t change a darn thing about how it all worked out. Like I said: Mustaine’s decision not to hire Vinnie meant he didn’t get Dime, which meant he hired Marty Friedman instead, which meant us extreme music lovers got both what many people (myself included) consider to be the definitive Megadeth line-up, and we got Phil Anselmo-era Pantera, who were totally unfuckwithable in their heyday. So, basically, all versions of this story have a happy ending, but the ending we got was perhaps the happiest of all.

[via Metal Injection]

Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits