Dave Mustaine on Long-Term Success: “There’s Nothing Worse than when Someone Comes into Your Presence and Tries to Change You”
It’s been a long career for Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, from his early stint in Metallica to fronting Megadeth for 40 years. In a new interview with Finnish publication Chaoszine, he spoke about maintaining such longevity and holding fast to his beliefs throughout that career.
First, Mustaine spoke about seeing crowds of young people and how he strives to use his music and performance to encourage them to chase their dreams… not a private jet.
“It’s great, ’cause you look out from the stage where I stand and you see all young people and they’re having a good time. They’re experiencing the music, they’re loving life. And that’s who I was when I started writing this stuff. I was a young man and rebellion is a young man’s game. So, for me to be singing about, you know, my stocks and my bonds and my expensive jets and stuff like that, who can relate with that? You set your fans up for such disappointment and failure, because if they think that that’s something that everyone can attain, it’s not — it’s for those who work for it, inherit it or get very lucky. And I like to give our fans the understanding that they can do anything that they want to do if they put their mind to it. It may take a little bit of time, depending on what they want to do, but I encourage them to follow their dreams. I did. It’s the people that get in your way and tell you that you can’t do things that you need to get out of your life because they’re the ones that are gonna stop you from achieving those dreams.”
In the second chunk of the interview, Mustaine spoke about the importance of staying true to his beliefs and not folding under pressure from critics or fans.
“You stick to your guns, you have your own personal truth and you stick to it, and you don’t have to ever remember the lies. Sometimes you will upset people and disappoint people. There’s nothing worse than when someone comes into your presence and tries to change you. It’s kind of like, ‘What did you like about me in the first place?’ Getting a vocal coach to come in and change my voice would be wrong, because I’ve sang with the same approach for so long. Making me value my instrument better and be able to perform longer is a different thing — that’s a conditioning coach, right? So I think if you pay attention, too, you’re gonna learn what you need. Don’t just go and do what people tell you what to do. Just have your own critical thinking, and if something doesn’t feel right with your voice, go see an ear, nose and throat doctor. You may have polyps, you may have throat cancer like I did, like Bruce Dickinson did. I guarantee you, if you asked him, he’d probably say the same thing I did that he didn’t expect to get cancer. I didn’t expect to get cancer.”
He may have burned numerous bridges along the way but Mustaine has largely done things his way throughout his career. Obviously there’s more to success in the music industry than one’s stubbornness and dedication to their vision but it’s not bad advice at all.