Mark Eglinton of The Quietus recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Quietus: "Mustaine: A Life In Metal" has been out a few weeks now. How long was the gestation period for this project?
Dave Mustaine: Well, originally the book was going to be entirely different. It was going to be about the songs — whether it was The Crusades or whatever the subject was — with the focus being on what each one meant, and the various idioms and one-liners within all those songs and also who it was all aimed at.
The Quietus: So what happened?
Dave Mustaine: I turned the finished book in to Sanctuary and then that company folded. They just told me, "We're closing down the publishing company, here's your book back." I just said "Oh, OK," and I thought it was really cool that they had paid me for the book but didn't ask me for the money back. We just went our separate ways, and I had the book. I thought, "Well, so much for my journalism!" [laughs].
The Quietus: But you didn't give up on it?
Dave Mustaine: No I didn't, but when I got a new manager, I talked to him about everything I had dreamed about as far as this book was concerned. Because our management company is one of the biggest in the world, that gave us so much clout both over here in the U.S. and over there, and because of that we went straight to HarperCollins and got a book deal — the Mercedes Benz of book publishers. All the staff at both the U.S. and U.K. offices have been so easy to deal with, and as a result, this whole process has been nothing but fun for me. From when I first introduced myself to my co-writer, until the book was actually released, was probably a year or so.
The Quietus: Given that you've been fairly acerbic with the press over the years, it was surprising to see how restrained you were in dealing with some of the METALLICA issues in the book — very few cheap shots are taken at all, in fact...
Dave Mustaine: I don't think there's ever any point in cheap shots, period. I mean, if you've got an opponent, then get in the ring — don't throw mud back and forth at each other. If you've got something to say, just say it. If it's fighting words, let's get it on. I'm almost 50 now, and when you get to my age, you don't fight any more. When I got my first black belt, I was talking with my sensei, and he was a half Mexican and half Native American. I talked to him and got some great insight into what happens when the Native American chiefs get too old to compete; they have warfare mentally. I loved this guy so much that when I did my side-project MD.45, there was a song on that record called "The Creed", which was about people who knew martial arts and the warrior creed generally. I mean, just because you know a martial art, doesn't mean you know how to fight, and there are a lot of guys with martial arts ranks that wouldn't last ten seconds in a street fight. That warrior mentality is what I was referring to.
The Quietus: Did you fear legal comeback in any way, when you were dealing with some of the more contentious aspects of your story?
Dave Mustaine: Well, no, because I have already confessed what my part was in all the stuff with METALLICA — both the things that had gone right, and the things that had gone wrong. We're friends now, and my goal wasn't to set the story straight so that people liked me, it was just to set the story straight. I just wanted to say, "Hey, I did that, and also, I didn't do that" — if that makes sense.
Read the entire interview from The Quietus.