Dave Mustaine Says He’s Not Competing with Metallica, But His Influence on Them is ‘Pretty F*cking Deep’


Stop us if you’ve heard this little diddy before: Dave Mustaine used to be a member of Metallica. He was fired for being the drunkest drunk of the bunch. He creates Megadeth to be faster and better than Metallica. Metallica becomes the biggest band in the world. Mustaine spends his career talking shit about his former bandmates while putting out some of the most influential thrash metal ever.

Now that you’re all caught up, it turns out Mustaine told Guitar World in a recent interview that he isn’t in competition with Metallica, but rather he’s pissed about how his input in the band’s early days has largely been ignored by his former bandmates.

“In the early days, I was the only guitar player in the band and wrote some of the songs that ended up on their earlier records. So for a guy who ‘couldn’t play guitar,’ I sure did fucking influence things. The only reason James [Hetfield, Metallica vocalist/guitarist] even played guitar early on was that we couldn’t find anyone else.

Also, early on, James was terrified to talk to the crowd, and I would look at him and say, ‘Talk, man. Get up there and fucking talk,’ but James didn’t do it. He stayed in the background, and he’s the fucking singer… That’s how it was until I left, James only started talking to the audience after I left; he had no choice.

And most of what I said on stage was things James would then copy after I left. So how do I view my influence on Metallica? It’s pretty fucking deep.”

One of the main points of contention, according to Mustaine, has been an ongoing dispute about his songwriting credits for some of Metallica’s earlier material. The exchange has gotten so heated that it even stopped the production of a No Life ‘TIl Leather remake that was supposed to come out in 2017.

Like most things with Mustaine and Metallica, the redheaded shredder continues to take that sort of thing extremely personally.

“Remember, Metallica got a big head start, and they did so on the back of what I helped create. They became one of the biggest bands in the world, and here’s one of the biggest bands wasting their breath trying to discredit me by saying, ‘Dave‘s not a good guitar player.’

‘Excuse me, what the fuck did you say?’ I think I wrote many of the songs that made you famous, so you probably should recheck that bullshit statement. But this is the shit those guys say, and you’ve got the sheep who follow them around believing it.”

And despite all the barbs and venom, Mustaine said he ultimately wants to put it all behind him. As a man in his 60s, he said he wishes nothing more than to play a gig with Metallica and his band Megadeth. Mustaine’s already said he wants to make new music with Hetfield again, so it seems like he really wants to move forward. All it would take, he says, is for Metallica to make the first move.

“I wanted things to be reconciled and to be friends. But for whatever reason, they didn’t. And Metallica is represented by the same agent as Megadeth, and I’ve asked our agent, ‘You’re Metallica‘s agent, too; why won’t those guys play with us? What are they afraid of?

The fact is simple: The world wants to see Megadeth and Metallica play together… Does Megadeth need Metallica? No. But Metallica talks about their fans, but they don’t give them what they’ve been asking for. What are they afraid of? I don’t know. It’s not me; it’s them.”

If you want to hear more from Mustaine and check out the rest of the interview, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Guitar World when it goes on sale this February 21.

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