Understatement of the Year: Dave Mustaine Says He Isn’t Good at Singing
There’s a lot about Megadeth’s music to like: the guitar work is mind-blowing, the drums are typically intricate as Hell, and the bass is… there enough for a thrash band. You could even like the lyrical content or the sort of acerbic snarl in Dave Mustaine’s voice. But when it comes specifically to that voice, there’s one thing nearly everyone that’s ever listened to Megadeth agrees on: Mustaine’s vocals are typically… not good.
While taking a trip down memory road regarding the litany of lineup changes in Megadeth, Mustaine told Consequence that despite those changes, it was the band’s vocals — both his own and backing vocals — that’s always been the band’s weakest point.
“I mean, it’s literally mesmerising for me to take a step back from the microphone and look over and see things like Kiko [Loureiro, current guitarist] playing with Marty [Friedman, former guitarist]. And James [LoMenzo] floating around the stage like a sage with his craft, and going up to the microphone and singing as good as I do – or better.
“And we’ve never been a band that was strong in the singing department. All of the background vocals we’ve ever had have always been the person at the time that was doing the least amount of playing or whatnot, if they could even sing the parts would go and sing. And to hear the difference between someone who actually is a singer versus someone like myself who is, is… I don’t know, for lack of a better term, a ‘vocalizer’ – that has made me a better singer.
“That was one of the things I was hearing every night out on the tour: ‘Man, you’re really singing so much better.’ When we would see our friends that would come out and visit us – ‘Wow, Dave, you’re singing great. Your voice sounds great.’ And I’d like to think I’m not doing anything different. But the truth remains – your vocal box is a muscle just like anything else, and you have to take care of it.”
In recent years, Megadeth has been turning their instruments down a step or so to better suit Mustaine’s voice since he can’t do what he used to do in the band’s early years. Having seen them live in that time, I can say that change alone has made a huge difference in the overall enjoyability of Mustaine’s vocal performances.
That being said, he’s no Rob Halford, but even he’s aware of that fact. Hell, for some fans, maybe Mustaine’s unique vocal delivery is part of what makes Megadeth great in their minds.
To read the full interview, be sure to head over to Consequence.