DAVE MUSTAINE: I Haven't Been As Happy With A MEGADETH Lineup Since 'Rust In Peace' Days

U.K.'s Terrorizer magazine (web site) recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On the perception that MEGADETH is indeed a band again, one capable of making fully coherent musical statements. Does Dave consider this a fair comment?

"What, that I'm coherent? Hahaha! No, I agree, this does really feel like a 'band' record. I'll tell you what, too; it really helps that there are two brothers in the band now, because they've got a relationship already and they communicate very well. It's very different. The other night we were eating a meal and they raised a toast to me! That is so nice, ya know? To be getting that kinda of respect. It's something I haven't experienced before.

"I haven't been as happy with a MEGADETH line-up since the 'Rust In Peace' days, which a lot of people consider the best line-up. I personally don't think it was our best, but in terms of being 'a band' we've definitely got that feeling back again. After David Ellefson left, I faced some real decisions. I wasn't sure whether to go on or not. But now the band feels really strong to me."

On the "United Abominations" recording sessions:

"We started and finished the album in England, which was a good experience. I mean, we worked at [PINK FLOYD guitarist] David Gilmour's house, although he doesn't live there any more, and we used [LED ZEPPELIN drummer] John Bonham's drumkit! How could you not enjoy that? Also, the band were very enthusiastic, fired up and ready to go. It was just very enjoyable."

On whether Dave would characterize this as the easiest bunch of recording sessions that MEGADETH has ever undertaken:

"I wouldn't say it was easy. There were certain personal issues going on in the background. That's pretty normal for bands, you just have to carry on whatever problems you have. But it makes all the difference when everyone doesn't hate each other and you're actually looking forward to seeing each other in the morning. Before, it was like when a friend pukes in your car or something. You see them in the morning and you're like, 'Man, I hate you.' Hahaha!"

On working with co-producer Andy Sneap (ARCH ENEMY, EXODUS, KREATOR):

"We'd been working with Jeff Balding, who does a great job. But we knew we needed something else to give the material that extra push, so we brought in Andy. It was cool because he isn't like some big rockstar producer. He was just another Joe to me. So we were trading jokes and laughing and it was fun. My sense of humour is pretty close to a British one, so we worked well together. Also, Andy told me I was the reason that he got into playing metal in the first place, which was really flattering. We're actually going to be working on a couple of other things with EMI, so that'll be interesting."

On Mustaine's ongoing commentary on world politics through his lyrics:

"For a while there were bands that were walking around wearing t-shirts that said, 'Fuck Bush' on 'em. That really doesn't help kids to understand anything or feel part of the political sysyem in the States. I've met the President, I've helped him to pass legislation and shook his hand. And I'm proud of that, you know? I've never told people how to vote, I've just asked that they do vote."

On whether it's fair to say that the band thrives under the threat of annihilation:

"Well, I think metal bands always do well when there's an atmosphere of international crisis. It's when the military is more conspicuous and soldiers are getting a bit more attention than they normally would. Like, in America, you could be living next door to a soldier and not give him a second look most day, but in times like these people are like, 'Can I help you?' It's really easy to take things for granted. There's also the 'chicken little' element of when the sky is falling, y'know?"

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