MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine recently spoke to Rockdetector.com editor Bernard Doe (formerly of the much-missed Metal Forces). In the interview Mustaine talks about his decision to disband MEGADETH and become a solo artist, his ex-bandmates, the murder of DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist Dimebag Darrell, his feud with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King and, of course, METALLICA. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Rockdetector.com: You stated last year that MEGADETH would be no more once the current tour was over and you would then concentrate on a solo career. Is that still the situation?
Dave Mustaine: "Yes, this is the last MEGADETH record and last MEGADETH tour."
Rockdetector.com: So what are the reasons behind that decision? Do you think MEGADETH has run its course?
Dave Mustaine: "Yes, I think so. I also think it will be good to let it go on a high note. I mean, even though some people that listened to 'The System Has Failed' didn't really have the same perspective as the fans did, the record is doing good, and the ticket sales for this tour have been really great. I still have a record contract for some MEGADETH records and I have a record contract for some Dave Mustaine solo records. So I'm not going to say that there isn't the remote possibility that there will be another MEGADETH tour or record, because who knows? But for me right now, I'd like to pursue what the future holds for me without the MEGADETH name over my head. I know it's going to be hard starting out all over again, but after METALLICA I started out again with MEGADETH, so I think I can do it again now."
Rockdetector.com: You have just announced some dates for Japan in April, but do you have any plans for a special final MEGADETH gig somewhere?
Dave Mustaine: "You mean like on the steps of the Sydney Opera House like CROWDED HOUSE? Ha! Ha! I dunno, maybe in my backyard?!"
Rockdetector.com: I was thinking of something along the lines of a farewell show with some old bandmembers?
Dave Mustaine: "There would be no sense in getting old members back, because if that happen then it would have to include David Ellefson (bass) and I shall never play with him again."
Rockdetector.com: Now you had the injury with your arm and hand back in 2002, which in itself looked like signalling the end of MEGADETH, but do you think that the latest album would have turned out any differently had you not been forced to take time off?
Dave Mustaine: "Actually, I think the injury was a great weight being lifted off my shoulders, because I wasn't happy playing with those guys (Al Pitrelli, Dave Ellefson and Jimmy DeGrasso) anymore. It was all about money and 'listen to my song' and 'listen to my lyrics'... I was worn out. There were many times we would play and there was something either going on with me, with them, our management, the record company, the agency or something... usually me. And we would get on stage and one of the guys would walk up to me and play along side of me like you do in a guitar duel, and I would just turn my back and walk away. And that isn't cool, I was wrong for doing that, but y'know what, if you don't like somebody then the last thing you need to be doing is simulating that you like them up on stage. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to pretend that everything is okay and that we love each other and then fist-fight after the show. I'll fist-fight with them on the stage. Ha! Ha!"
Rockdetector.com: Back in December we had the tragic murder on stage of Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott (DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA) in Ohio, which obviously shocked the whole heavy metal community and beyond. From a security point of view, is that something that concerns you when you are performing?
Dave Mustaine: "Well, I don't know how far anyone would get trying to attack me with their bare hands. If they had a weapon then they'd probably get a little bit further, but for the most part I don't live in fear of that happening. My life changed a few years ago whereas I know that when it's time for me to go, I'm going to go. The bottom line is people think that what happen at that concert is indigenous to the heavy metal community, but that guy (Nathan Gale) was not one of us. He was some psycho who was an outcast who discovered PANTERA and went to the show and did something unthinkable. Most of the people who love PANTERA are tough people and they're a little rough around the edges, just like the people who like DAMAGEPLAN, but they are people who respected Darrell as a guitar player. One thing is for certain — Darrell had style and left a mark on the heavy metal community. I just wish that guy would have spun Darrell around and pulled a gun in his face because I think then Darrell would have whooped his ass."
Rockdetector.com: Soon after Darrell's murder you issued a statement via your web site saying that you wanted to quit holding grudges. You also apologized to both METALLICA and SLAYER, inviting them to get in touch with you so you can talk about your past differences. Has there been any response from either of those parties?
Dave Mustaine: "Well, I'm not really responsible for progress on their part. I think by going out on a public form and saying that I'm letting this go and if there's anything that can be done about it then I'm here, that's about all I can do. It's up to them now. The thing with METALLICA is something that's been going for so long and it's so tired. I thought it was over after we did the filming for the 'Some Kind of Monster' movie and then it just renewed everything again. I just had to process my feelings and let it go. I'm glad the movie came out and I'm glad that I'm in it, even though I was kind of frustrated with the way I was portrayed."
Rockdetector.com: Have you spoken to Lars Ulrich since the filming took place?
Dave Mustaine: "No."
Rockdetector.com: After you issued that statement about burying the hatchet, Kerry King (SLAYER) was then quoted in an interview with Abrasive Rock, published on the internet just four days later, calling you a "prick," a "dickhead," and a "total ass." Maybe that initial interview was done before your statement was issued, but what did you make of his comments?
Dave Mustaine: "Y'know, I really don't concern myself with what Kerry says because you have to ask yourself, why would a guy go so out of his way to continue to talk about someone else like that in his interviews? He's either jealous, intimidated or he's afraid of me? Whatever, I have two other bands doing interviews for me. Ha! Ha!"
Rockdetector.com: I remember when you were in the U.K. back in 1993 you said on stage at the festival in Milton Keynes that the 10-year feud with METALLICA was bullshit and that it was now over.
Dave Mustaine: "Right, but then the movie came out and it all started up again. I mean, it was the first time for us to actually talk through those things and we did, but then the editor used pieces that made me look less than flattering. I just said this is not cool, but then it kept escalating and escalating. I don't want to get into it as I'll just open a can of worms again, so I'm just going to say this: I'm glad the movie came out and I'm glad that they recognized me as the guitar player from METALLICA, because saying that I was never the guitar player from METALLICA is not true."
Rockdetector.com: But there were like 11 years between what you said at Milton Keynes and the "Some Kind of Monster" movie coming out, and there was still a lot of bad blood going on between you and METALLICA during that time?
Dave Mustaine: "No, that's not true. I think the bad blood was from them. I mean, James (Hetfield) was in my home town on the radio and he said that I wasn't sober on air, and it's like dude, why would you say that? I understand that a lot of it is in the delivery and he could have been joking... but I don't care about it anymore. I wish them well... I hope they are happy. Y'know, they've got to live with themselves. I know James went in and got some therapy and maybe this is going to help him open his eyes a bit towards what it's like to be me and know what it's like to have these things going on. But I don't even expect to see things worked out with Kerry. If I'm willing to sit down and say, 'Hey what's going on, why are you upset?' and he's still going to call me a dick and a prick and all this stuff... it's like, 'Dude, if you want to fight, you know where I live!' I mean, if you are just trying to make yourself look cool, that's understandable... you are cool, so why would you do this? If you really want to take a shot at me then get within range, don't do it through the press because you just make yourself look stupid. I like SLAYER, I really don't know what the problem is?"
Rockdetector.com: Looking back on your MEGADETH career, which album gives you the most satisfaction?
Dave Mustaine: "'Countdown...'. yeah, I would say 'Countdown to Extinction'."
Rockdetector.com: And the album that gave you the least satisfaction?
Dave Mustaine: "That would be 'Risk'."
Rockdetector.com: Why is that, do you think? Was that a particular bad period of your life personally?
Dave Mustaine: "No, that was a time when the band members, Marty (Friedman) and David (Ellefson),were trying to call all the shots and pretending it was like a democracy. Y'know we'd been through so much therapizing. They were like, 'Hey, it's not Dave's band, it's our band', and even I would be saying things in the press like, 'Well, MEGADETH is bigger than one of us', and I'm thinking to myself what a fucking bunch of bollocks! The bottom line is, it was my vision and it was my band, and if anyone had any doubts about that then look at the record after 'Risk'. I told Marty, 'We have to go back to our roots and play metal again'... and he quit! We then made a record, 'The World Needs a Hero', which was the beginning of a progression in the right direction, and then after Ellefson was gone 'The System Has Failed' come out, and that I think shows you what it's like when I'm not inhibited to do my craft."
Read the entire interview at Rockdetector.com.