Dave Ling of Classic Rock magazine recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Classic Rock: How did it feel to bury some past grievances with SLAYER by touring together?
Mustaine: [Smiling faintly]: I didn't even talk to Kerry [King, guitarist] yet.
Classic Rock: But he did watch MEGADETH's show from the side of the stage?
Mustaine: Yeah. I've never had anything against Kerry — he started it all. The many things he said about me hurt my feelings, but I'm still open to being friends with him. Maybe we'll sit down together and have a drink; he'll have Jägermeister and I'll have water. I'm a different person now, I'm 47. I'm happy in my life.
Classic Rock: But the olive branch came personally from you?
Mustaine: Yeah. I've done a lot of that. I did it with PANTERA. I did it with [estranged former bassist] David Ellefson. I had dinner recently with Dave and he said that [leaving the band] was the dumbest thing he ever did. I said, that's okay — I forgive you. As I sit here talking to you now, thinking about the people I have grievances with, there are zero. I'm really happy with my life. And as my career nears its end, it's finishing at the top.
Classic Rock: Can you pinpoint why you are in such a good headspace right now?
Mustaine: My faith [in God] is behind why I'm playing as good, and how I got rid of my demons. That I've been saved is something I don't push it on anybody, but it's helped me. It goes back to what I said about SLAYER at the start. I'd said I'd never play with Satanic bands. Though people don't know this, I also said I'd never play with man-whore bands because I didn't want to go out there and struggle with staring at chicks in the audience. But when my life changed I put all that stuff on the side. I realized I could play with bands that attract female audiences; after all, guys like to go to gigs where there will be chicks — even chubby ones, 'cos there are chubby dudes — and I began to lighten up. That's what this whole thing's about. Right now I'm happy, joyous, free… I'm your buddy, the guy you've known forever. You've said mean things about me; you've said great things about me. But we're friends; friendship is about good and bad.
Classic Rock: How did it feel to be No. 1 in Joel McIver's recent book, "The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists"?
Mustaine: It was especially sweet when I found out that Joel has written books on METALLICA. I looked at my copy of the book — I wasn't on the cover or the back. I figured I'd be somewhere like No. 69. So I thumbed through it; it's a really comprehensive, good book. I got to No. 50 and I thought, "Am I in here?" I'd been told that I was, but not which position. So I got No. 16 and I saw Hetfield. I thought, "Wow," because I respect James. I'm a better lead player than he is, but he's one of the three best rhythm players in the world.
Classic Rock: The other two being?
Mustaine: Malcolm Young [of AC/DC] and myself. Malcolm kept it basic but brought a whole new style of rhythm playing to the world. So I got to the Top 10… I still wasn't in there. Every page I turned, I became more excited. I get to No. 5 and it's Kirk [Hammett], and I thought, "Thank you, God." At that point it didn't matter [which position I was]. To be better than both of them [Hetfield and Hammett] meant so much — it's been one of the pet peeves of my career and I've never known how to deal with it. I didn't realize that it has had so much bearing upon my life. Then I got to No. 2 and it was John Petrucci [of DREAM THEATER] and I froze. I was No. 1. What made it better still is that the guy wrote: "This isn't about Dave as a person because he's been a cock" — [interjects with a bray of laughter] — "These four pages are about his guitar playing, which is the best. There are people who are better at one thing that Mustaine does, and others that are better than another, but no-one who's as good at everything." All I thought was… I win!
Classic Rock: In a way did it represent closure?
Mustaine: That's it exactly. I'm not addicted [to anything] anymore. And I'm no longer struggling with past demons from another band [METALLICA]. That game has ended. Lars [Ulrich] called me up and offered the chance to come to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame thing and not be inducted, to sit in the audience [instead]. "It's only for people who've been on the records" is what I was told. That would have been awkward. So I didn't go. There are obviously some unresolved issues on Lars' part. But you know what? If God wants me in the Hall Of Fame, I will be there.
Read more of the interview from Classic Rock magazine.
Video footage of Mustaine talking about METALLICA in March 2008 on guitarist Dave Navarro's (JANE'S ADDICTION) online TV show on ManiaTV.com called "Spread TV" can be viewed below.