MEGADETH Mainman: 'We're Becoming The Uncle Sam Of Metal'

Aaron Beck of The Columbus Dispatch recently conducted a short interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine:

The Columbus Dispatch: Given the many lineups since the beginning, what has kept MEGADETH together for more than 20 years?

Mustaine: Lying. (laughing) I don't know. Every lineup has a different deck of cards, and you have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of these people. I believe that me growing up in a broken home and having to move around as much as I did as a kid and always being the new kid in school almost every single year (in various southern California suburbs) made it easy for me to meet people and also be able to read people.

The Columbus Dispatch: What about heavy metal still inspires you?

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Mustaine: I still love the way great rock and metal music makes me feel. It makes me feel victorious. I still really dig the way we have our relationship with fans. Now people can call my cell phone and leave me messages. At concerts, we leave that number for the fans to call up and leave what they liked and didn't about the show. We're becoming the Uncle Sam of metal. We're for the people. (The number: 619-717-2000.) Hey, did you know that I have a lot of family back in Cleveland and Dayton? My dad was born in Ohio, and my wife is from Cincinnati. I love going to Ohio. I just actually went to OSU and had some medical work done on me because I have stenosis in my back. The football docs there took really good care of me. I love Ohio. To me, it's such a very big part of my makeup. It's where my dad was born and where my wife was born.

The Columbus Dispatch: Stenosis?

Mustaine: I've got a back problem, a nerve disorder. I've got chronic whiplash from headbanging. But when I get out in front of you guys and I start playing, it's like "You know what? Hey, your back hurts. Be careful." And it's like "Right."

The Columbus Dispatch: You're a pioneer in the medical field — permanent injury by headbanging.

Mustaine: It's just wear and tear on my spinal column. Eventually, it's going to become a real problem. I'm dealing with it by eating right and resting and praying a lot. In the long run, if I completely fail as a musician, since I love God and I'm a Christian now, I can probably go into the ministry later.

The Columbus Dispatch: As a Christian, how do you go on playing songs from the days when you were anything but?

Mustaine: You mean living in the past? If you're really in touch with what you're doing and your music is an extension of yourself, if it's a part of who you really are, it still comes through, especially if the lyrics are timeless and timely. Someone said something to me in Europe recently (with a German accent): "So, Dave, do you think your lyrics still have any message or meaning?" And I'm like "Let's see, we're on the verge of a world war, so 'Holy Wars' is pretty relevant. Maybe the new album ('United Abominations')? 'Peace Sells'? 'Countdown to Extinction'? 'Symphony of Destruction'? 'Wake Up Dead'?"

Watch professionally filmed video footage of MEGADETH performing "Sleepwalker" and "Take No Prisoners" last night (Saturday, September 22) in Columbus, Ohio:


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