During a May 2012 interview with Artisan News, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine admitted that he is concerned about expressing his political views in public or in the media for fear of backlash against the band. You can watch parts of the chat in the four-minute report below.
On erroneous media reports in February that he endorsed Republican Rick Santorum for president:
Mustaine: “I was talking about the Republican party months and months ago, and somehow some guy got hold of the story and said that I endorsed Rick Santorum. Well, I didn’t; I never said that. I knew Rick and I talked to him on the phone a couple of times, but I didn’t endorse him. And [Rick] knew that I didn’t endorse him. And [Rick] told me, ‘I’m really sorry that all this happened. I’ve been watching how you handled it through this whole thing,’ and he thought that I did a good job handling it. ‘Cause I didn’t say, ‘F that guy.’ And I didn’t cower and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like the Republicans. I’m an Obama guy.’ It’s really weird that the music industry and the film and television industry, you almost gotta be a Democrat. It’s like if you’re a Republican, you’re kind of like a guy that people don’t really wanna hear from, because they look at Republicans like people who complain. But I’m an independent, not a Republican — I’ve never been a Republican. I’ve always said that. I don’t belong to any party — I’m non-partisan. And for me, the sad thing is, instead of voting for the best man, I have to vote for the lesser of two evils.”
On the danger that his opinions could get him into trouble in this political climate and hurt him economically:
Mustaine: “What I think about the president or the job he’s doing, does it really matter? If I say how I really feel, I’m gonna get blackballed — people are gonna talk bad about me and my career’s gonna suffer. And that in itself is a shame because since when in America can’t you talk freely about things that you like or don’t like? And why should I have my business taken away from me because I don’t like somebody? And that’s one of the fears I have — if I say how I really feel about stuff that people are not gonna wanna come see us in concert or not gonna wanna buy our records. But it’s like, man, I’ve been talking about how I feel about government since I first had my first record. I don’t like government. I think that… Much like our founding fathers in the beginning who knew that you needed government but that the people were in control… The government works for us, and I think people have forgotten that.”
On whether his opinions have gotten him into trouble in the past:
Mustaine: “Well, not to the extent of [someone like] Ted Nugent. I can understand his anger. We’re not very similar, but we do have a lot of things that we have in common. I try and be a little bit more hospitable with trying to explain stuff. ‘Cause I know that I’m imperfect, and if I’m imperfect, that means that my opinions are gonna be imperfect, too. Some of them are gonna be right on the money, but a lot of them aren’t.”