Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Classic Rock Revisited: Your lyrics tend to be about mankind. Often they are about his downfall.
Dave: I try to share my life story with our fans. There is an old, ancient saying…I guess that is being redundant saying "old" and 'ancient." What I meant to say is that there is an ancient Oriental saying that says "A smart man learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man learns from the mistakes of others." I think that is part of what being a dad is all about; showing the child the mistakes not to make. It is not all about telling them what to do, but also showing them what not to do.
Classic Rock Revisited: You have some experience with that in both your personal and professional life.
Dave: I don't know anybody in the music industry that has had as much adversity as I have that continues to be on top. Like I said in the song "When", I've been through stuff most people would die just watching. We continue to be victorious, no matter what the adversity, whether it be the industry at a given time, or the fan base at a given time, or what music is popular, or economic challenges, or misinterpretation of things we say during a song, or on stage; we always come out on top. Sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong and if you're man enough to apologize when you do wrong, then the fans will forgive you. It's not about how many things you do right in this business; it's about how many things you don't do wrong.
Classic Rock Revisited: You could have self-destructed at any moment.
Dave: Yeah, it was pretty toxic, but a lot of that had to do with how I was brought up. My mom and dad divorced at an early age, when I was four. My mom moved out when I was 15 and that was in 1976, so that would be like a ten-year-old living on his own today. Growing up, being homeless and having to panhandle for food, the only comfort I found was in a bottle, or in some other form. After my life started to turn around, there was still a big black hole inside of me. Yeah, sure I could eat and I had money and a roof over my head, but I still had to find something to fill that hole. Sometimes people use a significant other, or sometimes it is a substance and sometimes, like people talk about in the 12-step fellowships, it is a power greater than yourself. For me, I think that having that spiritual fulfillment is what has helped turn my life around. A lot of people confuse religion for spirituality. I heard it summed up real simple… Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell and spirituality is for people like me, who've been there.
Classic Rock Revisited: You are still making great albums where others who you've been with do not. Do you ever ask yourself, "Why do I still have this ability when the guys I grew up with do not?"
Dave: Well, I haven't asked myself that question. I know where you're going with that, Jeb, but I think for me, if I asked myself that question it would be from the premise of why am I better than somebody else, and I really don't think that. The alleyways of Hollywood are littered with guitarists who are better than I am. A lot of the people that are my contemporaries are better than I am. I think it is like that old saying says, "The harder you work the luckier you get." I love to play music. I think I am one of the few thrash metal guys who are brave enough to delve into melody. There is a certain push back from the heavy metal and thrash community when you start getting too melodic. Sometimes songs just tell you what they want. There are songs that you do that just have an awesome hook in them and that hook opens doors to other things. A lot of people did not like the ["Super Collider"] title track because they thought it was too poppy but here's the thing… It is the first track for our new record label, which is a major label, they love the band and we showed them that, not only can we write commercial metal pop songs that people can't do anymore, because their either afraid, or they sound like they are hacking up a chicken bone; they just don't know how to do it. We also have the super-heavy stuff on there and I think that is good because it really shows them everything we are capable of. I think it also opens up a door to a lot of people who just don't like metal. They are going to listen to that and think, "I like that one song," and they are going to get the record and listen to the rest of the album and go, "Man, I love this style of music. I've been missing out for a long time." Then Dave has introduced another person to the metal community and it becomes like that shampoo commercial where they tell two friends and so on and so on.
Read the entire interview at Classic Rock Revisited.