Jack Mehoff of the Colorado Springs, Colorado radio station 94.3 KILO recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A transcript of the interview follows.
Jack Mehoff: Tell me a little bit about the new record, because I’m excited for that.
Dave Mustaine: Well, this is our second record since [bassist] David Ellefson‘s returned. It’s our second record with [producer] Johnny K. This is the second round of songs that I’ve worked with [drummer] Shawn Drover [on], and [guitarist] Chris Broderick actually has some songwriting on this record. I think “Super Collider” probably is gonna be one of our best records. And there’s only been one other time in my career I felt like every single thing was in its place and that was “Countdown To Extinction”. Because, you know, whenever you do a record, you always… you know where the squeak is and, you know, I remember listening to digital version of a LED ZEPPELIN live song — I think it was “The Lemon Song” or something — and you could hear the pedal, the kick pedal squeaking. So, you know, there’s always gonna be something you can hear, and with “Countdown”, you know, it was perfect. Every single thing was perfect. And this is the first record I’ve done since then why I’m absolutely 100 percent confident and satisfied with everything on the record.
Jack Mehoff: What was the process for this? Like from start to finish. You just start demoing songs? Everybody throws an idea in the hat? How was this different as recording in the past?
Dave Mustaine: You know, it was kind of like building a bridge from one side of a bay over to the other with no support in the middle, just going for it. And the velocity of the construction of the record — we were so busy with the whole, you know, recording of the record. I was songwriting as we went, that, you know, it was almost like I didn’t look down to see that we were out over the middle of the ocean and, you know, so I think sometimes when you see those old pictures of the ironworkers in New York on the skyscrapers when they’re up there eating their lunches and stuff with no restraints or no safety devices, you kind of ask yourself, “Man, those guys were superhuman back then.”
Jack Mehoff: Now after you and I are done talking, I’m going to debut to the whole wide world “Super Collider”. What can you tell me about “Super Collider” and your love behind that song?
Dave Mustaine: That song itself is a little bit of an older chord progression and I was listening through some old riffs from a while ago and found that song, added a couple of little pieces to it to make it… to complete the song, and before you knew it, the song was done. I was really excited about it. And, you know, sometimes when you’re writing a song, you know, you find yourself having to scratch your head and come up with parts and stuff like that. And this was one of those songs that when it was done it was kind of like, “Oh, wow, it’s done.” That’s only happened a couple other times in my career. It happened with “In My Darkest Hour”. I sat down and I wrote that all in one fell swoop. And then the song “Use The Man”, because I had just gone over to a friend of mine who was running a halfway house at the time and some guy just got out of prison and went and scored heroin and shot up and died there that day.
Jack Mehoff: Wow. That’s some kind of inspiration there, man.
Dave Mustaine: Sometimes there’s really crazy inspiration for songs that makes them come out of the blue.
Jack Mehoff: Dave Mustaine, you have had quite the illustrious, long career and I imagine that comes with many, many memories. From all these years, I’m sure it’s hard to pinpoint just one or a few, but what moment in your career where you looked around and thought, “You know, this is [bleep] awesome.”
Dave Mustaine: You know I’ve gotta tell you right now, I’m probably experiencing the most looking around right now. There’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened recently that was almost like a metaphorical completing of a circle, so to speak. You know, like the thirtieth anniversary with my previous band [METALLICA] and going and playing with them again. You know, I don’t think anybody ever thought that was gonna happen. And then, you know, we’re doing “Big Four” dates and the next thing you know I’m up there playing with my old band again. And it did a lot of healing for me. You know, there was a time where I really was wanting to do that again and now that I’ve done it it’s out of my system and I’m great. I’m ready to move on. And I think that, you know, as you grow up you don’t necessarily have to grow old. But as you grow up you start to really appreciate things more in life. Like I appreciate live radio personalities so much more than some of the stuff that’s on the Internet where it’s all taped.
Jack Mehoff: Well, hell man, it’s hard to find live people on the radio anymore. I appreciate live radio personalities as well.
Dave Mustaine: Of course you do.
Jack Mehoff: Oh, this is actually a very big deal for me, man. Not to date myself but when I was ten years old, not allowed to purchase heavy metal or rock and roll, I have a distinct memory of me holding a boom box up to “Headbangers Ball” and recording onto tape MEGADETH songs. And, so many years later I appreciate you taking the time and talking to me.
Dave Mustaine: Oh, wow. That’s a great story. You know it’s funny how they used to control the things that young kids would get and just kind of protect people more. And nowadays it’s such a different place. You know, you can hear any kind of music. There’s not any kind of restrictions. And I kind of think that in a way that, you know, certain types of music, you know, the songwriter has a responsibility to what they say to their fans and stuff. You know, I’ve always been provocative in my lyrics, but I’ve never really tried to promote, you know, any kind of harm to anybody or any kind of hatred towards anyone’s belief system or another. You know, it’s always been about trying to instill some kind of sense of self-worth and to spur on creative thinking. I think that it’s really cool to question stuff and just to find out, you know, “Hey, am I right here or am I wrong here?” Because if I was wrong about something I would certainly want to know.
Jack Mehoff: With a new album, “Super Collider”, coming out Dave Mustaine, what are your plans for the summer?
Dave Mustaine: Well, we have — obviously, we’ve announced our IRON MAIDEN dates at the end of the summer here in the States. Gigantour‘s gonna be coming up. It’s a great lineup this year. I was talking earlier with some of your brethren and had mentioned that David Draiman [DISTURBED, DEVICE] had appeared on the record with me and that we hit it off well enough that I asked him if, you know, he wanted to be part of Gigantour this year. So he’s the first band that we’re actually saying who’s on there. We have everybody confirmed but we’re kind of holding back and just kind of teasing our fans and stuff to have fun with them. After that we’re gonna be going to South America with another huge legendary band and, of course, you know, next month we leave for Europe for a month of dates over there.
Jack Mehoff: That’s exciting. That’s a good year, man.
Dave Mustaine: Yeah, very busy. Very busy.
Jack Mehoff: That’s good.
Dave Mustaine: And then next year I’ve got my debut with the San Diego Symphony which is gonna be totally killer.
Jack Mehoff: I’m not aware of this. What exactly is that?
Dave Mustaine: Well, you know, there’s all kinds of classical songs that are really kind of scary kind of things. Like the “Ride Of The Valkyries” and, you know, “Fantasia”, that one song “Night On Bald Mountain” and, you know the “Hall Of The Mountain King” and certain songs like that that are, you know, they’re really creepy songs. And I said that I would love to do Dave Mustaine interprets the dark classical ditties, something like that. And we talked with the San Diego Symphony and a friend of mine runs the San Diego Opera and she talked to them and they were all about it. And we went down there and met the maestro and Jahja Ling, whatever his name is. I can’t pronounce his name worth a darn but we met and he was all about it. So we’re developing the program right now. It’s basically gonna be a symphony orchestra playing these really dark scary songs and me coming in and out of the performances playing guitar over it.
Jack Mehoff: Really, that’s exciting.
Dave Mustaine: Yeah, it’s gonna be really cool. I think it’s exciting.
Jack Mehoff: Are you gonna — is this a DVD or are you gonna release something from it?
Dave Mustaine: I’m sure they’re gonna tape it. They’re gonna want to tape it. You know, it’s a symphony so the building there is acoustically perfect. I mean I don’t know how loud I’m gonna be playing but, you know, the great thing about orchestras is the majority of them aren’t miced because everything’s acoustically tuned perfectly. So I think it’ll be really neat.
Jack Mehoff: Cool, man. I look forward to hearing something from that.
Dave Mustaine: Yeah, yeah. We’re gonna do a couple interpretations of some MEGADETH songs, too, so that’s cool.
Jack Mehoff: Mr. Dave Mustaine. Being in heavy metal royalty, I hope that’s a decent label to throw your way, as you look around the landscape of heavy metal and rock and roll right now, who are the new bands that you enjoy yourself?
Dave Mustaine: Wow, there’s not a lot of really new bands that I’ve been listening to. I appreciate and respect a lot of them but I’ve been kind of going through my old-school phase lately so, you know, I would just be saying names just for the hell of saying names right now and I wouldn’t be being sincere at all. One band that I did hear recently that I really liked was the opening band on Gigantour. It’s an unknown band. The bass player from DANZIG and the drummer from MORBID ANGEL formed this band called DEATH DIVISION. And they’re opening up Gigantour. My son manages them and if Tradecraft [Mustaine‘s label imprint] could sign anybody, I would sign them. They’re that good. When I heard them, I said, “Well, who’s their label?” And Justis [Mustaine‘s son] said they don’t have a label. And I said, “Really? Well, you know what? They can open Gigantour if they want to.” And they’re on it. And the band’s got one of the best guitar players I’ve heard in a very, very, very long time.
Jack Mehoff: That’s got to be an exciting place to be where you come across a band…
Dave Mustaine: To give something back, yeah. It’s a great place to be.
Jack Mehoff: You come across a band, “You know I dig your stuff. Let’s go on tour.”
Dave Mustaine: It’s really rewarding kind of feeling, too, when you can do something nice for somebody because, you know, so often in life everybody’s trying to get something from you. To just give something to somebody is so awesome. You know, because if you’re giving something to somebody, trying to get something in return, you’re not really giving at all. It’s bartering. You know, there’s a condition on it. So with Gigantour, we just freely give to the bands that are on the tour. And, you know, let them share in the success that I’ve been able to garner for myself and this gigantic publicity machine that’s Gigantour.
Jack Mehoff: Dave Mustaine, what do you do when you’re not being, you know, a heavy metal rock star? What happens in your down time?
Dave Mustaine: I like to read a lot. I spend a lot of time helping my friends. You know, there’s weird little things that we do that we just kind of try and do stuff for people and not let them know about it. And, you know, that’s like the greatest feeling. One of the things I was talking about earlier was, you know, there’s a soup kitchen in Haiti that our fans helped us get and, you know, we donated it to the people of Haiti. And every day down there in Port-au-Prince, one of the most violent cities in the world, every day there are thousands of meals prepared for orphans and widows thanks to MEGADETH fans. That is the coolest thing in the world.
Jack Mehoff: You know what…
Dave Mustaine: No matter what anybody says about me, it doesn’t matter at all because I know that there are kids down there that are getting fed because of our relationship between me and the MEGADETH fans and the music that binds us.
Jack Mehoff: That’s very cool.
Dave Mustaine: It’s cool. It’s really cool. You know, not a lot of people are willing to get out of themselves and give, you know. Oh sure, they’ll sign a guitar. The guitar doesn’t cost anything. That’s kind of like, you know, the difference between bacon and eggs. The chicken made a contribution but the pig’s butt’s on the plate, you know. And when you really put your money where your mouth is, that’s when it really starts to be something that feels good at the end of the day. That’s why we take bands out that some people never heard of, you know, that’s what this whole thing with this opening band’s about. You know, and taking Dave‘s band out and DEVICE. Sure, he’s a superstar and DISTURBED is massive. DEVICE is brand new. He knows that I trust him and take a chance on me. And it’s like, “Chance, shmance. You know what? This is gonna be great.” But, I mean, when you look at it from a corporate kind of mentality, it is taking a chance.
“Super Collider” album cover: