MEGADETH’s DAVE MUSTAINE Reflects On ‘Countdown To Extinction’ editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “Countdown To Extinction” now?

Mustaine: It was very fun. [laughs] The world was different back then. There were some very peculiar moments like when the curfew happened after the Rodney King riots. Something like that happens once in a person’s lifetime, and you have to live through it consistently. Those things are rare. What’s your experience like listening to the record now?

Mustaine: Playing it is one thing. Listening to it is another. When I listen to it, I think, “What was I reading then? What were we going through?” Take the chorus of “Symphony Of Destruction”. I found a martial arts instructor I liked, and I started training with him. I’d been with him for a while, and one day, I was driving to get lunch. For some reason, I wanted sushi. Maybe I thought I was David Carradine. [laughs] Who knows? You finish karate and go have sushi, right? I wrote on the back of the receipt from the sushi restaurant, “My head explodes. My brain corrodes.” That’s where it started. The feeling of this record reminds me of how meticulous we were doing it too. When we had the guitars patched into strobe tuners, we’d bend up until where the tuner would stop dead if we were doing any solos with bends in them. It was crazy stuff like that. We were doing it to tape too. That organic nature comes through.

Mustaine: I think so. There’s the argument of analog versus digital. Digital definitely has a clarity to it, but there’s a plasticness in the sound. I love the sound of tape. If tape had the same kind of post-EQ that digital presents, it would sound just as good. There wasn’t that big of a difference when you’d listen to a really well-produced record. People just didn’t know how to get stuff to sound really great analog-wise because tape is pretty finicky. Tape sticks together. I remember the first time they told me they had to bake the tapes when we wanted to do something with the old tapes. I thought, “How is that not going to melt? How is something disastrous not going to happen?” [laughs] It’s totally real, and they do it all the time though.

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