In a brand new interview with AXS, Dave Mustaine was asked how he decides which guitarist plays which solos when composing new MEGADETH material. He responded: "It's pretty simple. It's based on the rhythm. I'm a better rhythm player than a soloist. I consider myself an accomplished soloist, but if the rhythm gets too complicated, I can't follow it very well. The other guys can. So I'll take the more complicated rhythm to play and let them solo over it. But when the rhythm is simpler, I'll have them do it and I'll solo over it. That's usually the most obvious way we pick who does what. There'll be times when it just doesn't work out that way."
He continued: "One of the main reasons Marty Friedman left MEGADETH was because of the solo in 'Breadline' [off 1999's 'Risk' album]. That was a song where Marty wanted to do the solo so badly. And he did, but when we got the song back, our management said, 'We don't like the solo.' Marty was already gone, so I agreed to redo it. But I told them they'd have to tell Marty they didn't like his solo and wanted it redone, because I knew it was gonna cause problems. So then we're sitting in the control room and the song comes on. Everyone's there, we're all excited. I'm fat, dumb, and happy because I think they told Marty it would be my solo, not his. So the song comes up and there's my solo. Dave Ellefson [MEGADETH bassist] and I look over at Marty, and he's got tears coming down his face. I was like, 'Oh my God! You didn't tell him!' I felt terrible. Those are the little things that just fuck everything up. People don't see that part of it. They think it's my fault. I mean sure, I had a part in it, yeah. But who forgot to tell him?"
In previous interviews, Mustaine painted a different picture of how the writing and recording process worked on earlier MEGADETH albums. Speaking about the musical chemistry of the band's classic "Rust In Peace"-era lineup, he told Revolver magazine in 2008: "I sang almost every single note of Marty Friedman's guitar solos, and I wrote the majority of Nick's [Menza] drum parts, and I wrote almost every bass note that [David] Ellefson played." He doubled down on those claims in a 2009 interview with Guitar World, where he said: "You know, people have heard me say that I 'sang' solos to Marty in the studio, and I did. I did it to [former guitarists] Jeff [Young], Chris [Poland] and Al [Pitrelli], too. But [then-MEGADETH guitarist] Chris Broderick? I only did it two times [on MEGADETH's 2009 album 'Endgame'], and there are literally hundreds of thousands of notes on 'Endgame'. Now that is a testimony to a guy who has studied his partner."
Friedman has disputed Mustaine's claim that Dave "sang almost every single note" of the guitarist's parts before they were recorded. Marty told San Antonio Metal Music Examiner in a 2016 interview: "I had complete control over what I played [on 'Rust In Peace']. And I wasn't interested in changing anything up that anybody else was doing, as long as I could do what I wanted to do. Of course, everybody else had to like what I did, so I wanted to make sure everybody liked what I did. But it was completely up to me what I wanted to play. So that's all I wanted; I didn't wanna come in and start changing things around, band-wise, politics-wise or anything like that, or even in songwriting. I just wanted to, you know, have my guitar playing [come out] my way, which is really the only way that I ever play guitar. I'm not really good at adapting to anyone saying they want me to play one way or another way; I've never been in that situation, so I wouldn't be the type of guy that you could say [to], 'Play this like whatever.' So as far as I was concerned, I had all the freedom that I wanted ever in that band. It was fantastic."
MEGADETH is currently touring North America with MESHUGGAH and will play arenas later in the year as the support act for German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS.