Patrick Prince of Goldmine magazine recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Goldmine: You still won’t play songs like “The Conjuring” (off “Peace Sells”) since you’ve become born again?
Mustaine: Well, it’s not that I wouldn’t play that song. It’s what the subject matter’s about. I’ve been struggling with that. For example, “Anarchy in the U.K.” (off 1988’s “So Far, So Good…So What!”) is a song I really don’t like playing because it starts off and says “I am an Antichrist.” Well, I’m not an antichrist. Not only am I not it, I don’t want to be it. I won’t even be one of them. And as far as “The Conjuring” … it actually has the components of a hex in it and when I wrote the song it was cool and it was vogue to be into black magic and the dark side and stuff like that — so it was really cool to have lines from a hex in it. But looking back now — being a dad, being a responsible person, being a musician who has influenced a lot of lives very positively — I look at it and think, “I don’t know if I would play that live.” Same thing with “Bad Omen” (off “Peace Sells…”). “Bad Omen” is about a Satanic orgy and that was based on a book that we were supposed to read when I was in junior high school in the Los Angeles school district. The Orange County school district, if you could believe that.
Goldmine: There was a strong disillusionment over politics and things going on in the world on “Peace Sells…”. Things haven’t really gotten any better since it was released. Things don’t change sometimes.
Mustaine: They don’t. They didn’t change from when Kennedy was assassinated. I got a video tape sent to me recently of the guy who was driving Kennedy, turning around in the car and shooting him in the head. Have you seen that video? They actually got another angle. You know the famous one shown from the passenger side [the zapruder film]. Well, there was somebody else right next to him. They had another camera. Oh my God, it will make you hate your government. Because I loved him, growing up as a kid. He was the President who was in office when I was born. So you think about how things were when you were a kid and everyone’s pining about how great Kennedy was. So really after he had held office there wasn’t really a lot of hope for the States.
Goldmine: It seems like after that, no one seemed to hold the office of the President in such high regard.
Mustaine: Not anymore. I don’t think so because of the things that have taken place and the mistrust. Plus when you look at “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?”, what the whole concept behind that whole album is pretty much about — us as a people and the youth of America as an individual … I don’t want to say “faction” that’s the wrong word, but an entity, on its own. The youth of America being justified, finally, coming of age, and being able to look at things and being able to say ‘You know what? I don’t want this Manchurian Candidate as our President.” Back then, it’s the same thing now. I look at the way Obama has been selling our country off and all the ways things are happening and the way that our economy is plummeting. Why won’t we tap Alaska? And why did we take so long to act on the Gulf? Why did we take so long to act in Libya? Why?! Where’s his birth certificate? You know what, that birth certificate he showed everybody … I remember buying one of those to go buy booze. Hello Obama. C’mon dude, they used to sell those in the back of Creem magazine for $3.
Goldmine: Including liner notes from [Mustaine‘s former METALLICA bandmate] Lars Ulrich on this “Peace Sells…” [25th-anniversary reissue] set was a nice touch.
Mustaine: Yeah, I know. I was really touched. See, it just goes to show you that the relationship that Lars and I really have had over the years was private, and people really did not know what it was about. They only heard what was said in the press and because of the time delay in the press — you say something in the press and then six months later it pops up again. I can remember on several occasions … I remember when I was in Arizona and I had just taken my fifth year of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous — I mean, I am no longer a member of the twelve step fellowship because when I got saved my life changed and I was set free from a lot of that insanity — but at that time I was really doing the deal. I was sponsoring guys and going to meetings, doing service work and all that stuff. And I heard something on the radio and it questioned my sobriety and I was really hurt. You know, that’s the kind of stuff people don’t see. They’re not sitting here next to me when I hear it on the radio. I knew that when the chance, the turn came around, if anybody was ever gonna make fun of James [Hetfield, METALLICA guitarist/vocalist] when he was going through his thing, it would not be me. Because of how that felt. I promised myself that I was going to stop that and I did. The problem is that when you have an aircraft carrier and you try to turn that sucker around, you’re in the wheelhouse, you know that steering wheel’s been cranked all the way to the left or right, you know it. But looking out the window, it takes a loooong time for that sucker to turn around. So a lot of the stuff with Lars and I … we were really close. Whenever he would come to town, we would get together and go and hang out and stuff. I think probably the most popular skirmish was between Lars and I but probably the most painful one was between me and James. Because I cared so much about him, I missed him so much. So when the time came to bury the hatchet it actually came when Darrell [“Dimebag” Abbott] from PANTERA was assassinated … I had done his memorial episode for MTV, they had had a “Headbangers Ball” for him, and I had said on my web site after I did that: “Look, man. life is too short. I am burying the hatchet. Anybody I owe an amends to, please let me know so I can do it. I’m extending the olive branch.” And that was the beginning. We got everything sorted out with PANTERA, with METALLICA, with SLAYER and I’m pretty excited about where I’m at with my career. I’ve got the dubious honor of being able to manage a band called BAPTIZED IN BLOOD, my manager and I are managing TESTAMENT … which is awesome, because they’re a great band. We’ve got some other things that we’re doing that is outside of the scope of playing music, so once I hang up my guitar, I’m still gonna be very much involved. And I’m excited about that.
Read the entire interview from Goldmine.
Photo below by Stephanie Cabral