The Boston Phoenix recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Boston Phoenix: You seem like you would be demanding as a bandleader — almost like a metal version of James Brown.
Mustaine: [Laughs] Bite your tongue! I don’t really know Mr. Brown very well so I don’t know if that’s a compliment or a friendly insult. I know that for us, what we do is try to make it as enjoyable for the listener as possible. When you’re playing extreme music, you can’t be sending out chocolate and flowers to your staff after you’re done — you know? It’s like everyone is eating broken glass nachos and stuff like that, so you gotta have that slugging each other in the arm kind of thing. I know that would seem like it’s demanding, but when you have people that are dedicated to what we’re doing here and they’re all at the top of their game, there really isn’t much to be demanded, you’re just kind of calling out the plays and people do it. It’s a very heads-up football kind of thing; I’m calling audible quarterback plays and taking the whole approach with MEGADETH like it’s very militant, everybody has their roles, and when it’s time for the show to start, the lights go out, it’s synchronized, it’s like a pit crew. You see these NASCAR guys come in and they have a car completely changed and filled up with gas in 12 seconds — that’s what my guys are like, they’re all top-notch professionals.
The Boston Phoenix: Why do you think some people are having trouble buying the fact there is peace between all the [“Big Four”] bands?
Mustaine: I feel sorry for people like that — you wonder what makes them tick. Do they get up in the morning and walk into the kitchen and hit themselves in the face with a frying pan? How were they rendered so ignorant? I don’t know. Some people need something to live for. I tend to go through my day seeing if I can bring happiness into people’s lives instead of going around talking scuttlebutt about bands and who doesn’t like who.
The Boston Phoenix: METALLICA just announced that they were doing an album with Lou Reed and were in the studio with Ray Davies. Could you ever see yourself doing a similar project with them?
Mustaine: Well, I already did a project with METALLICA a long time ago. You mean another project with METALLICA? I dunno. . . . If they’re digging up old guys to rock with, those guys are a little bit older than I am, I may have to have my AARP card to do it [laughs]. No, of course I would do it — that was my band. MEGADETH was what the next logical step was in my musical career. It was a natural progression, but if an opportunity came for us to play again — I think what would be ideal, and I’ve talked to James [Hetfield] about this before. And he didn’t say “No,” that he and I and Lars [Ulrich] and [MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson should do a record together and see what happens. Not as a band or anything like that, but something to donate the money to charity. We’re all getting a lot older now and just the fact that we’re talking was a great start. Playing together is even better, and the idea of us doing something together could be just too much for my little brain to handle and it might just explode.
The Boston Phoenix: You’ve got two kids: Justis and Electra. I have to ask about the irony in those two names.
Mustaine: He’s not called Justis because of “…And Justice For All” — that’s shallow. It’s spelled the Old English way and “Justis” is a form of Jesus which is another form or “righteous.” And Electra, it had nothing to do with the record label Elektra [where METALLICA spent the majority of their career]. We were gonna call her Savannah, but I didn’t like that name because it was some trollop that blew her face off or something because she was an old porn star, and that particularly didn’t ring well with me. We were at church one morning and they were dedicating the child there, and they said her name was Savannah and that it meant “barren plains,” and I thought, “We’re not naming our kid ‘barren plains’ — sheesh, we might as well just call her ‘scorched earth.’ ” We had looked at some other names and Pam [Dave‘s wife] thought that the name Amber was pretty and I looked up the Greek meaning of Amber which means “dawn of light,” the beginning of every day. And Electra is the same thing as Amber in Greek, so I thought it was great. Now, we do have that one kid that we gave up for adoption named Puppets. . . .
Read the entire interview from The Boston Phoenix.
Photo below by Stephanie Cabral