Keith Carman of Canada's Exclaim! magazine recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Exclaim!: So here you are with album number 12 set to go and people chomping at the bit to hear it. How does the process of making a MEGADETH album change after so many years?
Dave Mustaine: It was getting easier. Then it started to get really harder. Now it's on autopilot because now I'm doing what I want, not what I think the music industry wants. There was a period where we had to do what the music industry told us to do or we were not going to eat. It had to do with record sales going down and our popularity being affected because radio station after radio station was changing. At one point, Los Angeles had two hours of metal playing in the whole week. Two hours? Are you kidding?
Exclaim!: That seems strange because so many people look to L.A. for instruction as to what's current.
Dave Mustaine: People look to Hollywood but not as much to L.A. L.A. proper is a melting pot of people. Most people think of L.A. and record industry people as being tanned and wearing gold chains, playing tennis and shit. They're not thinking about the people in the trenches living the lifestyle of the music they love.
Exclaim!: I never knew you were under such pressure at one point. It always seemed as if you've only ever done what you wanted.
Dave Mustaine: No, no way. That would've been real easy but in 1992 when "Countdown..." came out, the label was so enchanted with it, they wanted us to do it again. I was like, "What do you mean, 'Do it again?'" If I could just "do it again," I would. I can try but the reason you either do it again or don't is because it's difficult to make a great record. I could sit there and put out mediocre songs but I don't wanna do that. I wanna write great songs. I wanna make sure they're all thought out; there's no filler. So far with "Endgame", all of the reviews we've gotten have been stellar, all of the interviewers have been very excited for me. It's such a great feeling to know that people are happy for me. There was a period where I felt like a stepchild; I'd never be able to shake that feeling but it's gone now.
Exclaim!: It must be rewarding to know people are finally on side; not attacking you constantly.
Dave Mustaine: I don't know if they've been attacking me forever. We've just had a rough go of things. Some of the stuff I brought on myself, some of the stuff was imaginary, some of it wasn't real at all and it's kind of a bummer when you're working with people and they don't believe you.
Exclaim!: Well, you nailed it with this record. How much of that comes from having your own recording studio now? Does that offer more freedom of time and resources?
Dave Mustaine: I'm not sure. I think a lot of it comes from that the band is really getting along right now. The chemistry is really working.
Exclaim!: Is that something you feel could last infinitely or is there potential for that to be sort of transient: sometimes the relationship is great, sometimes not?
Dave Mustaine: The chemistry started working when Shawn [Drover, drummer] joined the band. Glen [Drover, guitarist] was a temporary member that did us a real solid. He brought in Shawn and he recommended Chris [Broderick, guitarist]. Where he was 25 years ago when I started the band, I don't know. Ah, he would've been about ten back then.
Exclaim!: I recall you being proud that when you had the Drover brothers in the band, MEGADETH was half-Canadian.
Dave Mustaine: This'll blow your mind then: I was talking to my sister and she emailed me because she was doing genealogy on my dad's side and they lived in Canada for a while. I told Shawn and he goes, "See, I knew you were cool for a reason, eh?" It was funny but for me, telling the story the 300th time, it's not as funny. But others enjoy it. I knew my dad was French-Irish and I guess he came in through the French part of Canada. It's interesting to know because if I ever kicked out of America, I'm moving north.
Read the entire article from Exclaim! magazine.
(Note: Portions of this interview were previously published on ChartAttack.com.)