Radio Metal conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine at the French edition of the Sonispherefestival on July 9 in Amnéville. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Radio Metal: Your new album is going to be called “TH1RT3EN”. Have you had any bad luck during the making of the album? Or, on the contrary, do you think this will bring you good luck?
Mustaine: It’s been very good luck. We did this record in… in record time — I don’t want to sound silly — but we’ve never done a record this quickly. Well, when we did “Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” it was fairly quick, but things were different back then, you know, I had my whole life to write a record. For this record, I’d had to start from scratch with no songs, basically, when we started it. We had some song ideas and we had a couple of tracks that we had worked on before but nothing that had ever been finished.
Radio Metal: You recently stated in an interview that the album sounds unlike anything you’ve ever done because it sounds really super-modern, before adding that it sounds like really old classic BLACK SABBATH with a little bit of a modern edge of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Those aren’t really what we can call super-modern bands, especially BLACK SABBATH. Can you further explain what you meant?
Mustaine: Yeah, that’s a really bad quote that’s gotten out there. What I said was that it’s got some really super modern sounds, because that’s Johnny’s (K, producer) style. The sounds themselves are like old SABBATH! Right? Now, that doesn’t mean that the songs are like old SABBATH songs. The sound is. Some of the guitars. But when you put the guitars all together, you put the bass in there, and the drums, and you add the vocals, it doesn’t sound the same at all. And what I had said about QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, I was talking about guitar sounds. I don’t know that band at all! I know one song. (He sings the riff from “No One Knows”)
Radio Metal: Yeah, that’s “No One Knows”.
Mustaine: Yes, that’s it! I mean, God bless those guys, they don’t need my publicity at all to help them, I know they’re super successful and they’re evidently a great band, but the quote has been really mistaken.
Radio Metal: The last couple albums were in the classic thrash metal MEGADETH sound and, according to some of your statements, it sounds like you wanted to do something different this time…
Mustaine: No. We’re following our roots right now. We’re right where we want to be, the last record was where we wanted to be. This record is where we want to be right now, getting back to what we do. You know, when “Risk” was finished, I told Marty [Friedman, then-MEGADETH guitarist] “We have to go back to our roots,” and he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to play more pop music, so we parted ways. That’s a big statement for a guy to make a guitar playing change because he does not want to continue down a particular direction. So from “Risk” to here, each record has gotten a little bit more like what’s deep down inside me. You know, when you learn all that stuff like how to write a particular song, something happens to you, when you write another song, that’s still in there. Depending on who’s taught you, how successful it is, sometimes you struggle with not wanting to listen to that because you know if you do those kind of things, it would probably make the songs more successful but… would the fans like it? You know? So we kind of just followed our hearts again, because when we played music for ourselves, that’s when I felt the best about it on stage. And I can tell, the songs we played on stage, if I don’t really feel like “Oh my God, I love this song, I love playing this song, this is the greatest song ever” you can usually tell, because the audience kind of reacts that way, too.
Radio Metal: Dave Ellefson was quoted saying that it was funny that 20 years ago you guys came off “Rust In Peace” and then went in and made “Countdown To Extinction” and that to him this is what this new album feels like. Is this your feeling, too?
Mustaine: Well, I’ve got to tell you, to me it’s got the most potential of anything we’ve done since then because “Countdown” was our biggest record ever, and it’s nearing triple-platinum in America, which is a big thing. And I’ve got to tell you, this record… I’m really proud of it. All the other records, you want to say “Hey, it’s a great record, it’s this, it’s that”. I haven’t been just trying to color my answers, I’ve just been saying “This is what it is, you’ve got to hear it for yourself.” I love it! I think it’s great. I think it’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time. But I mean, you’ve got to be the judge. And you’ve already heard songs, man, you’ve heard “Sudden Death”. You’ve heard “Never Dead”, the track on that video game. You’ve heard… well, I don’t know if you’ve heard “Public Enemy” yet, but… I know you’ve heard these songs, you know?!
You can read the entire interview at Radio Metal.