ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
ARTISTdirect.com: One of ["Endgame"]'s standouts is "The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed with a Kiss". What's the story behind that one?
Mustaine: That's an interesting pick! My wife said, "You've never written a song for me." I was like, "Yeah, I did." She responded, "No you didn't!" I told her, "I did. You just don't like MEGADETH, so you don't know [Laughs]." She likes listening to country music and more of the toned-down kind of stuff. I said, "Okay, I'll do a new one." I wrote this song for her. The second half is different. It's like any other MEGADETH song that has two halves. There's a "…" in the middle of that song for a reason. It's like "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due". Everyone calls that song, "Holy Wars", but it's really "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due". It's funny when people just scream, "Holy Wars!" [For] the second part of "The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed with a Kiss" — this may fuel the fire of your question about my literacy — I was reading Edgar Allan Poe's collection of short stories. I like Poe. I think that he's got some really incredible climaxes in his stories. One of my favorite writers growing up was Aesop because at the end of every story, no matter how scary it was, there was a moral. Some of those stories are really scary when you're just a little kid! That saying — What's the moral to the story — came up because of that. What's the punch line? I loved the way that Aesop did that, so much so, that I did that at the very end of a song called "Bad Omen". The song was really intense but, at the end, it turned around. It said that if you participate in this Satanic orgy going on, you're mind will be helpless and no one will be able to save you. There are a lot of different things that I write about, and "Sealed with a Kiss" is the part from the Poe story.
ARTISTdirect.com: What did your wife think?
Mustaine: I loved that song so much. When I heard it, I was so happy that I'd finally written a song like this. I was like, "Oh my God, how did I do this?" I'd been trying so hard to write an emotional song like this, and the closest I ever came to it was "In My Darkest Hour" or "A Tout Le Monde". Those two are really good songs, but they're nothing like this one. When I would listen to it, I was just so content! Then I played it for my wife, and I knew she didn't like it. I've been with her forever, and I knew she didn't like it. She didn't like the part where I said I was going to bury the person in the wall. That was a little bit of a misstep on my part [Laughs]. I told her, "That part's not about you; the first half is about you!" It's like any of the other songs that I've written that have two parts. We could go back to "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due". The first part of it is about my antics — I got myself into trouble over in Antrim in Northern Island. The second half is about The Punisher comic book; I loved The Punisher! I've been reading The Punisher for years and years. One of the first songs that I'd written on the first record, "Killing Is My Business…and Business is Good", is about The Punisher. There are a lot of interesting things that inspire me to write, but I would say the most interesting thing that's been inspiring me right now is my own challenge to be a better person.
ARTISTdirect.com: That's a good path to take…
Mustaine: I've seen people post stuff on my web site, "God, Dave, quit being such a butt-kisser," about stuff like when we were getting this tour off the ground with SLAYER. People said it would never happen. This is going to be the third time we're going to have toured with SLAYER off of this opportunity for us to hook up with them in Canada. The first Canadian run was really fun. It showed us that we could do it. We went down to Australia. The bands started to become close down there. When we got to Japan, before I went on, Dave Lombardo came into my dressing room and said a couple things to me. After the show, he was in there hanging out, and Kerry [King] was too. Our room was the place to be that night after the concert. We had one of those magic nights out there. I got a chance to take Kerry outside and say, "Hey, Kerry, I just want to ask you. What is it that I did that has pissed you off so bad?" We were just about ready to talk about it, and then some guy came up and started talking to me about "Endgame" [Laughs]. I was like, "Thank you!" It was so important for me to find out what I did so I could make it right. If I'm wrong, then obviously I want to make it right. If I'm not wrong, I want to find out what I did to hurt someone's feelings. I don't have any enemies in the world that I know of, but there are a lot of people that like to take potshots. That's cool. If it's legit, and you've got a reason to say or do something like that, that's okay. If it's not real, I just think, why are people doing that? We're all working for the same cause, and we're having a great time right now! What people say doesn't really hurt me, but it hurts them because they're going to miss out. I'm getting a little bit older, and I'm not going to be playing much longer. If my back is done, I'm done. When it's time, it's going to be time. I blew it missing LED ZEPPELIN. People talked me out of going to see LED ZEPPELIN, and I didn't do my own thinking for me; I wish I never would've done that. This is one of the greatest periods for me in my career. I've got a great lineup of players in my band, a great touring schedule that's about 18 months worldwide, my radio station, the book coming and so much more. What have I got to complain about? Nothing…
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.