Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine: “Very rarely have I started sh**, you know?” – 2022 – Interview – Talks Metallica, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Gar Samuelson
Classic Rock Magazine:
The Big Interview: Dave Mustaine
An excerpt from the interview can be found below. You can read the entire interview @ this location.
Is it difficult for you to talk about Metallica?
No. I really don’t give a fuck. And you know what? I love those guys. I sent a text message to James just a couple of days ago after he’d said that he was insecure about his playing. I said: “James, I love you and I really like your playing.” He didn’t answer. Of course not. Why would he? The point is I wanted him to know that I’ve had those feelings too, but I don’t now.
I must remind you that when I joined Metallica, James did not play guitar. He just picked it up and started playing when I was in the band. But let’s be honest, James is one of the best metal guitar players in the world. So for him to have those feelings, that’s a lie, because he’s a mind-blowingly talented guy. So I just felt I needed to say something to him. I didn’t tweet it. I didn’t want anybody to know what I said. But I’m telling you because, hey, you brought it up!
(In your autobiography) You said of your time in Metallica: “I was the leader of the band.” That’s quite a statement to make.
Because the guys who founded that band, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, are such alpha males.
Oh no. I am clearly the alpha male between the three of us. Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me talk to the promoters and collect the cash? Why was I the one who had to do the fighting? Why did I have to talk in between songs?
You’ve said your father was an alcoholic. Have you ever felt that your descent into alcoholism and drug addiction was in some sense pre-ordained?
I was always curious about drinking, and it tried to lure me into that abyss. There’s a lot of other people from that period that didn’t make it out alive, but I’m still here to tell the tale. I consider myself to be really happy. I have a wine company, and I’ll sip the wine to taste it when we’re doing new blends.
And when my son Justis got married, it was balls-hot and I wasn’t going to just sit out in the sun drinking water, man! But the days of looking for hookers to help me find some heroin in the Moulin Rouge district? Those days are over. And honestly, I don’t know why you brought that up. It’s kind of unfair. I mean, fuck, it’s not very flattering.
You weren’t shy about telling your drug stories in your autobiography ten years ago. On the contrary, you put it all out there in lurid detail.
My point is, do we want to regurgitate stuff, or do we want new stuff, seeing as I’m living and breathing, and I’ve got new things to talk about? It’s your call. And however you write it, I just hope that nobody who looks up to me would read this and think that something like heroin is the answer. Because that’s how I got tricked into it. Gar [Samuelson, former Megadeth drummer] told me if I wanted to be great, I had to do it.
Looking back at your life now, do you have any regrets?
Yeah. I regret not saying goodbye to Gar. When we parted ways, it was really ugly, because Gar and Chris [Poland, then Megadeth guitarist] were selling [the musical equipment] for heroin. Every time we get ready to go on the road we had to go to all the neighborhood pawn shops to get that stuff back. So when we parted ways it was bad.
And then many years later, out on tour, we went through Florida one time, and I saw Gar and he looked really different – and not in a good way. His hair was super-long, and his eyes were really sunken. He ended up dying from liver failure. I wish I would have known and been able to talk to him a little bit more. It was always: “Hey, I’ll call you in a couple of days.” And you don’t. So that’s a regret for me.
That said, you seem happy with where you’re at now.
Well, there’s a saying we have here in Tennessee: that dog don’t hunt. And there’s another around here: if you’re going to run with the big dogs, you need to learn how to piss in the tall grass.
That’s an odd expression. Can you explain how it relates to you?
Let’s just say that it takes a little bit more to get me riled up nowadays. In the past, when people used to talk shit about me, I would look at who it was and I would think: “This guy is saying something, and he wants me to respond because he’s got a new album coming out. He wants some cheap publicity.” Usually whenever I say anything, it’s back at someone else. Very rarely have I started shit, you know? But someone would say something and then I’d say: “Alright, game on!”
You can read the entire interview @ this location.