MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE: 'I Feel Like A Caged Lion Right Now'

MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was interviewed for the December 2011 issue of Decibel magazine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On recently undergoing surgery for stenosis, a neck and spine condition that he says was caused by "years of headbanging":

Mustaine: "The way [the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival] ended, with me being hurt, I knew I was hurt, but I didn't know how bad. Nobody knew the writing was on the wall. I pretty much thought, 'Well, I''m hurt, but I'll just take it easy, have a couple of glasses of wine. I'll get through it, get a couple of trigger point injections, get an epidural.' There were a couple of times they gave me a shot in my neck that numbed me up. I saw chiropractors and masseuses all the time. It inevitably gets to the point where you're starting to take medication, and that's never good, because if you're taking something and you never feel the pain You saw Curt Schilling when he was playing for the Diamondbacks, and Randy Johnson; I can't remember if [Schilling] was playing for the Diamondbacks that time he had the bloody sock or if he'd gone back to Boston or not yet [he] did some heroic feat where he had his foot put back together and he went out there and played.

"I'm an athlete, as a guitar player and as an onstage persona. But as far as being a musician that has to do hurdles I don't think most musicians, when they start playing music, think that they're going to be playing this demanding-type music that those of us who are part of the 'Big Four' and all the bands we influenced and kind of created [play]. With the advent of the headbanging which was not my invention, by any means; I'm not like Al Gore who invented the Internet there was that whole headbanging thing that came around, it's hurt a lot us What is headbanging, anyway? It's kind of like chronic whiplash syndrome, isn't it?"

On several songs on the new MEGADETH album, "TH1RT3EN" "Black Swan", "Millennium Of The Blind", "New World Order" that previously existed as demos or bonus tracks:

Mustaine: "Yeah, some of them were sitting around for a while. Some of them weren't ready to be released at the time. One of the things I've always prided myself on was being able to say, 'not yet.' We had a lot of good guys we've worked with in the studio over the years: good engineers, good producers, good co-producers, good musicians and special guests that have sat in with us, too. And some of these songs, they just werent' ready. And I would like to say that everything I've written has been great out of the chute, but I would be kidding myself. I'm a pretty good songwriter, but I'm not by any means perfect. There have been some songs that I've liked that other people haven't. Jimmy Page writing 'Hot Dog', we all have that to some extent, don't we? [Laughs]

"We had a couple of songs that we had recorded from before, like 'Sudden Death' was recored for 'Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock', and when Johnny [K, producer] came in, I said, 'Can we redo this?' And he said, 'Sure, man,' so we started remixing and recording it. Same thing with 'New World Order'. That was a song that we had on a demo tape, it was released on [2007 box set] 'Warchest' as a demo, but never an official release. That, and 'Millennium Of The Blind', too. And I said, 'I'd kind of like to keep 'New World Order' the way it is, but 'Millennium', I'm cool rewriting it, but there are some really good parts in the song. Let's listen to it.'"

On being grateful for who is and what he's been given:

Mustaine: "MEGADETH has given me so much joy and taken care of my family and given us a really comfortable and really truly magnificent life. We've really always been able to have a great life, the fans have always been wonderful to us I totally got the feeling right now that this is my season. When we took MEGADETH out of mothballs [in 2004], I was really feeling like I had just been resurrected. I don't want to use the clich of saying 'born again,' because there's a lot of connotations with that, and I certainly don't want to cheapen that in any way, but I felt like I had a new chance to be able to get out there and play MEGADETH music again and be productive. A new approach to songs, new energy onstage. I'd get up on stage, and I'd see Chris [Broderick, guitar] trying so hard, and Shawn [Drover, drums] trying so hard, and the other guys who'd been with us up to David [Ellefson, bass] coming back, and the frustration I felt in myself knowing that, God, I wanted to give more, but I can't. And now it's like, I can't wait to take the stage. I feel like a caged lion right now."

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