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Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Talks Touring, New Album Progress + More

Dave Mustaine
Daniel Boczarski, Getty Images

Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine will be the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this weekend. The metal great spoke with Jackie about the band’s upcoming U.S. tour dates and playing shows in other countries, their progress on their next album and more. Check out Full Metal Jackie’s chat with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine below:

Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. On the show with us once again, the one and only Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. How ya doing, Dave?

I’m terrific, how are you?

Good. Dave, let’s talk about Europe. Megadeth is heading for Europe for the summer festivals like Wacken, Bloodstock. Is there a different rush to being on stage in countries where metal represents a different kind of release for those fans because of their cultural and geographical circumstances?

Good question. You’re absolutely right. Granted, to the solution of all these borders everywhere, and people migrating as much as they have in the last couple of decades, countries are losing their personality and identity. But there’s still something amazing about going to a foreign country and playing to them. Each audience has their own particular nuance. I remember one time we played with AC/DC in Germany, and I swore, not trying to be a jerk or anything because I’m part German, but I’ve never seen so much lederhosen in my life! [laughs]

Dave, David Ellefson recently posted on Facebook that the two of you had started kicking around ideas for the next album. What makes the embryonic part of songwriting enjoyable for you?

Knowing that there’s going to be a finished product at some point. Making songs are always fun but we didn’t have a lot of time between the last couple of records. We were recording while we were touring and we would come home and go right into a studio. Having the luxury now to be able to sit with songs for a little while and digest them, that’s really helpful. We had that kind of time when we did ‘Countdown,’ ‘Rust in Peace.’ When we did ‘Peace Sells,’ we wrote that while we were on tour for 72 weeks. That was one of the longest tours of my life. With ‘Killing’ I had my whole life to write it. A lot of the successors to the popular records kind of came out with not a whole lot of time to develop the songs. I feel really confident about that right now.

Coming up in the next week or so, we’ve got a bunch of Megadeth dates you can go to Megadeth.com for the full list again. There’s the Art Park show, Rock USA on July 17 and others. Dave, in what ways do age and maturity change what musically satisfies your creativity?

With some people age will affect their playing. Obviously with the injuries I’ve sustained, I’ve been diagnosed with severe arthritis in my hands. So, I’m working around that stuff. But I’m a healthy guy, I’m very determined. I’ve been dealing with injuries for a long time. That’s me. But my body may age but my spirit is very young and alive. A lot of it depends on the individual player. Are they in it for the love of the music or the money or the prestige that goes along with it?

Dave, how have you changed most as a musician in terms of how your style has evolved and music you hear other than your own that inspires you?

Believe it or not, I’ve gotten very comfortable in my own skin. For the longest time I really didn’t believe in my guitar playing and there’s a lot of psychological damage that had taken place over the years after I left Metallica because of all the negative stuff that was said about me. It really — not going to say it hurt, because that makes me sound like a puss, but it was very discouraging. At one point, I started to realize, ‘Wow this is actually what I was meant to do.’ I’ve influenced a lot of people and actually enjoying myself. So, gotta get off of the pity pot.

Then, seeing the success of the records, the attendance of the shows, the ranking in the charts where I stand as a guitar player and what I had done. At the end of the day, it makes you feel great. Still I got back to the same thing I’ve said to you before. No matter what anybody says about me I know that the fans’ investment and belief in me. Us getting that soup kitchen in Haiti and Mexico — that’s the greatest thing ever. That my playing guitar is helping feed widows and orphans. That is so awesome.

Dave, Century Media just re-released ‘Killing Is My Business, and Business Is Good.’ How much awareness does re-releasing an important album have on new fans discovering it?

Sorry to say this, but I think Century Media is pretty ignorant for doing it without our awareness and cooperation. We could have helped with the promotion of it. But, they did it and never contacted us. It’s just the mentality of some of these record labels.

Dave, how reflective did you get about the significance of United States history when you recorded a version of the National Anthem for the movie ‘America’?

That was really interesting. They had asked me to do that and it’s no secret I’m not an Obama supporter, and I think everybody right now is getting to experience the I told ya so’s, but I’m not one of those guys to say that. When Dinesh D’Souza had come out in a debate, he was debating someone, I don’t remember who it was. I thought I’d be very educated and very interesting. He wasn’t trying to persuade me to be a conservative or republican he was just talking. I’m an independent. I thought he was really intelligent.

I saw the screening and I thought, ‘This is fantastic.’ There’s so much misinformation with this whole guilt trip they’re laying down on people that are successful, and they asked if I would do the ‘National Anthem.’ I said, ‘No I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘[Jimi] Hendrix already did that.’ They said, ‘Well do it your way!’ And I said, ‘Well if I do it my way I’d like to play it how it is but very soulful.’ Because so many people play the anthem and they destroy it with all this adlibbing and wanking. For me, it was really rewarding. It’s pretty straight forward but I like it. I’ve already got an offer to play for the Raiders in September, which is the 200th anniversary of ‘The National Anthem.’ Hell, it paid off already.

Dave, is there anything you can tell us about the update and where things are at with new music?

Sure, I’m just fiddling around with songs. I sent a song over to management, working with Ron Laffitte again and Ron and I were together during the heyday of Megadeth’s biggest records — ‘Rust’ and ‘Countdown’ and ‘Youth.’ He’s a metal fan and we’ve been friends for a real long time. I was interested to see what his opinion was. The last guy we had managing us was really sweetheart of a guy but he wasn’t really born in the wool, if you know what I mean. He didn’t really understand metal that much and if I would have sent him a song he could have said it was great, but deep down inside I probably would have said yeah, ‘What do you know?’

I sent a song over to Ron and he freaked out. He said it’s like the old school stuff and I can’t wait to see what happens. This is a guy that wouldn’t say stuff like that unless he was serious. The band guys are all excited about it too, now as far as collaborating for new music. That’s on these guys shoulders. I’ve got in my Pro-Tools rig. I have over 130 songs I’ve been working on, pieces of stuff. Saving them, fixing them, making them right and more complex, more melodic, heavier and stuff. I’m ready to go [laughs]. I’ll see what these guys do, see if they hang out and just let — just rely on me or if they got some ideas of their sleeve. Another thing too, a song isn’t just music. There’s lyrics to it, and the melody. You can have a great sounding song but the vocal line can suck [laughs]. So, having someone come in and say, ‘Hey, try this,’ is always great.

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth with us. Again, Megadeth has quite a few shows coming up. Go to Megadeth.com for the full list. Dave really appreciate you being on the show, hope to see you soon.

You got it, Jackie.

Thanks to Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine for the interview. Catch the band on tour this summer in the U.S. and Europe at these locations. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

Hear Dave Mustaine's Version of the National Anthem

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