Mainman Dave says press barbs extended his agony while he was cleaning up – and hints at plans for retirement
Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine says rumours circulated about him in the press made it more difficult for him to clean up his life.
And he regrets the fact that negative headlines were published about him even after he’d stopped saying and doing things which upset others.
Media coverage has adversely affected his relationship with former band Metallica for years. But he hopes the reality has been revealed by having Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich’s sleeve notes appear in the 15th anniversary edition of groundbreaking Megadeth album Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?
Mustaine tells Goldmine: “You say something in the press and then six months later it pops up again.
“The problem is like if you’re in the wheelhouse of an aircraft carrier. You try to turn it round and you know the wheel’s cranked all the way – but it takes a long time for that sucker to turn around.
“Lars and I were really close. I think the most popular skirmishes were between Lars and I but I think the most painful one was between me and James Hetfield. I cared so much about him and I missed him so much.”
Mustaine says that while press rumours about him offended others, it also caused him pain at times. “I had just taken my fifth year of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous,” he recalls. “At the times I was really doing the deal, sponsoring guys, going to meetings, doing service work and all that stuff.
“Then I heard something on the radio that questioned my sobriety – and I was really hurt. That’s the kind of thing people don’t see. They’re not sitting her next to me when I hear it on the radio.”
Those experiences taught him a lesson which he was finally able to use to turn his life around. “If anybody was going to make fun of James when he was going through his alcohol treatment thing, it wasn’t going to be me. Because of how I’d felt. I promised myself I was going to stop that, and I did.
“I extended the olive branch to everyone I owed amends to and we got everything sorted out.”
As part of his changed attitude Mustaine decided to edit out most of his between-songs chat in a live recording from 1987 which appears on the Peace Sells release.
“A lot of it ended up on the studio floor,” he says. “It was funny at the time and it was funny if you were there. But listening to a mid-twenty-year-old thrasher talking about smoking pot with Ronald Reagan didn’t really have any place in the body of work. Henry Rollins can do spoken word during a concert; I can’t. It’s like, ‘Sorry dude, next song, let’s go.’”
Mustaine is currently working on a new Megadeth album and the band will participate in Big 4 shows across Europe and in the US throughout the year. But he hints the outfit will roll to a halt at some point in the future.
“I’ve got the dubious honour of managing a band called Baptized in Blood, and my manager and I are managing Testament, which is awesome. We’re doing some other things outside the scope of playing music, so once I hang up my guitar I’m still going to be very much involved – and I’m excited about that.”