MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has confirmed to Canada's The Metal Voice that he is working on material for the follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album, tentatively due next year. Asked about the musical direction of the music he has written so far, he said (hear audio below): "Well, I don't know how to answer that, because if you want me to say what record it sounds like, it sounds like a combination of everything, because it's music that I've written.
"Whenever I write a riff, if I don't like it, I don't record it," he explained. "If I do record it, I save it. And if I don't use it now, I'll use it at some point. So a lot of the stuff on the record… There's a complete finished song left over from 'Dystopia' that I forgot we did.
"When you're in the studio and you're doing 16 songs and you're working your ass off every day, some things slip through the cracks," he said. "So we've got a huge head start on the record. Kiko [Loureiro, guitar] just came out. Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] was out before him. David Ellefson [bass] will be visiting me shortly to start playing some bass."
According to Mustaine, MEGADETH is "doing things a little bit differently this time" around. He explained: "We're kind of approaching the songs a riff at a time and just kind of focusing on the riff.
"If you play the riff and you listen to it, and it doesn't sound good on its own, then why put it in a song?" he continued. "A lot of people, when they write songs, they write a song, they'll start playing it, and they'll [a part] in there just because they need something in there. And for me, I don't like doing that. I don't like having a part in a song where there's a weak spot. 'Cause it's kind of like when we were kids and we used to play tug of war in school. Remember that? You had the rope and you pull it? You never wanted the weaklings on your side, 'cause who wants to get dragged through the mud? And that's kind of how it is with a great song — you never want any weak riffs in there.
"A lot of bands have really interesting approaches to how they write, and I've tried just about every way to write a song over my career," Mustaine added. "And I found this way is probably the funnest, because if you have a riff and it's not carrying its own weight and it doesn't sound cool, how can it possibly sound cool if you put words over it?"
Asked if he is drawing inspiration from the current political climate for the lyrics for the next MEGADETH album, Mustaine responded: "I think right now that the state of affairs in the world, it's so horrible — it's just so horrible. People are so mean to each other. There used to be a time in my nation where when people voted, they didn't tell anybody who they voted for, and now it's almost like a badge of honor. On the flipside of that, you're going around talking about somebody that you voted for and you're in the midst of people who don't like that person, and they're your friends, and they attack you because of a vote that you made? Then they're not really your friends.
"America is a republic — it's not a democracy. It's run as a democracy, but a democracy… my understanding is just one leader; we have three branches of government," he continued. "And I don't wanna get into a history [lesson] or class of political science, but for me, I see that there's so many differences between my government… and even our wonderful neighbors, our Canadian neighbors — there's differences. So it makes us both unique and beautiful and wonderful to be individual.
"But if I'm singing a song and I'm saying, 'Oh, yeah, I've got this problem, and I've got this problem,' and you're sitting over in, say, Kathmandu [the capital city of Nepal], you're saying, 'You know what? I don't understand what it's like to have a car, so what do I care that you have car problems?' Some of the kids that we play to in India, my heart just goes out to them — I love them so much, because I see how much they sacrifice to come see us play."
Mustaine added: "We played in Brazil one time and we got a promoter that was a really bad guy, and he was charging the fans 275 dollars for a concert ticket, just to sit in one little spot there. And I found out and I came unglued. We fired the guy and we never worked with him again. 'Cause the cost of living down there, it was three months' work to pay for these tickets, and I figured that is so messed up — that is so messed up.
"So I've kind of toned it down a little bit with the political stuff to where it's more about being a one-world kind of people, about the stuff that affects us as people, not so much as citizens of any government or nation. Why put an unnecessary wall up between us, right?"
MEGADETH's next LP will be the first to feature Verbeuren (ex-SOILWORK), who joined the band more than two years ago.