Dave Mustaine: “I Know How It Feels to Have People Gunning for You”
In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine spoke about a wide variety of topics including the band’s recent co-headlining tour with Lamb of God, new Megadeth album The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! and his relationships with former Megadeth members.
Speaking on Megadeth’s tour with Lamb of God (plus openers In Flames and Trivium), Mustaine—who battled cancer in the not-so-distant past—said that he is feeling better than he has in a long time.
“I’ve been having a good time. There have been a couple of nights that have been harder than the other nights, because of my overall health conditioning and stuff like that. When you want to give 100% every single night, sometimes it feels like you just want to stay up there and play longer, and you don’t have the time. We had the dubious privilege of playing last. It’s fun if you do that, but you have to play extra hard and be extra convincingly good. But it’s cool. We can do that.”
Mustaine continues on to speak about Megadeth’s new album, the first to feature ex-Soilwork drummer Dirk Verbeuren, who joined the band in 2016 after they recorded last album Dystopia. The Megadeth frontman thinks highly of his bandmate, who he compares to the thrash icons’ late drummer Gar Samuelson, who performed on Killing is My Business… and Business is Good! and Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?
Inevitably the interview turns to the topic of Mustaine’s relationships with former band members, ex-guitarist Chris Broderick and former longtime bassist David Ellefson. Broderick—who filled in as second guitarist for In Flames on the recent tour—left Megadeth under shaky conditions. Mustaine says that’s in the past:
“That’s all water under the bridge now, and I guess people have to do things the way that they best can handle things at the time. But that gives you an idea of how serious I am when it comes to forgiveness. I still think Chris is a terrific guitar player.”
As for Ellefson? Mustaine is clear that parting ways with the bassist—who was fired amidst a sex scandal—was the best choice for the band, but he is hesitant to slag his former bandmate.
“I have made mistakes myself and so I know what it feels like to have people gunning for you. But what we had to remember is that Megadeth has a lot of moving parts to it. There are four band members, you’ve got their families, their management companies, the agencies, all of their technicians and on and on and on. I can tell you, I’ve made decisions in the past that were detrimental to the security of the band, and I know what harm that caused. But I don’t want to be saying anything about anyone who is unable to defend themselves.”
When pushed, he continues:
“It was a hard decision that had to be made. There were a lot of people involved and I had to make a decision, because unfortunately, when you’re the leader, you’re the one that has to suck it up and face the music. All I wanted to do was make a clean break, and not hurt anyone, not hurt the fans and not hurt him.
“I just wanted to move on, and I hope the gentleman concerned is doing okay. I imagine there was some adjustment that had to take place when it happened. It was hard for me when I lost my job. But I’ve forgiven him before when he sued me and I’ll forgive him a thousand times. I just won’t play music with him anymore.”
The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! is out September 2.