MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was interviewed on the July 18-20 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: Dave, [MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson recently posted on Facebook that the two of you had started kicking around ideas for the next album. What makes the embryonic part of songwriting enjoyable for you?
Mustaine: Knowing that there's going to be a finished product at some point. Making songs is always fun, but we didn't have a lot of time between the last couple of records. We were recording while we were touring and we would come home and go right into the studio. And having the luxury now to be able to sit with songs for a little while and digest them, that's really helpful. We had that kind of time when we did "Countdown To Extinction", when we did "Rust In Peace". When we did "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?", we wrote that while we were on tour for 72 weeks. That was one of the longest tours of my life. And, of course, with "Killing Is My Business", I had my whole life to write it. So a lot of the successors to those super-popular records kind of came out with not a lot of time to develop the songs. And I feel really confident about that right now.
Full Metal Jackie: Dave, how have you changed most as a musician in terms of how your style has evolved and music you hear other than your own that inspires you?
Mustaine: Believe it or not, I've gotten very, very comfortable in my own skin. For the longest time, I really didn't believe in my guitar playing, and there's a lot of psychological damage that had taken place over the years after I left METALLICA because of all the negative stuff that was said about me. It really… I'm not gonna say it hurt, 'cause that makes me sound like a puss, but it was very discouraging. And at one point, I started to realize, "Wow, this is actually what I was meant to do. I've influenced a lot of people and I'm actually enjoying myself, so I've gotta get off of the pity pot." And then, seeing the success of the records, the attendance of the shows, the ranking in the charts where I stand as a guitar player and what I've, it really… at the end of the day, it makes you feel great. And still, I always go back to the same thing — Jackie, I've said this to you before — no matter what anybody says about me, I know that the fans' investment and belief in me, us getting that soup kitchen in Haiti and the one in Mexico, that's the greatest thing ever. Knowing that my playing guitar is helping feed widows and orphans. That is so awesome.
Full Metal Jackie: Dave, how reflective did you get about the significance of United States history when you recorded a version of the national anthem for the movie "America"?
Mustaine: That was really interesting, because they had asked me to do that, and it's no secret I'm not an Obama supporter, and I think everybody right now is getting to experience the "I told you so"s, but I'm not one of those guys to say that. When [filmmaker] Dinesh D'Souza had come out as a debate… he was doing a debate against somebody; I can't remember who it was, and I found him to be very educated and very interesting. And he wasn't trying to persuade me to be a conservative or be a Republican, he was just talking. 'Cause I'm an independent. I thought that he was really, really intelligent. And I saw the screening for "America" and I thought, "This is fantastic," because there's so much misinformation that's going around with this whole guilt trip they're laying down on people that are successful. And they asked, would I do the national anthem? And I said, "No, I don't think so. 'Cause, I mean, [Jimi] Hendrix already did that." And they said, "Well, do it your way!" And I said, "Well, if I did it my way, I would just like to really play it how it is, but very soulful." Because so many people play the anthem and they destroy it with all this ad-libbing and wanking and stuff like that. For me, it was really rewarding. It's pretty straightforward, but I like it. I've already got an offer to play for the Raiders in September, which is the 200th anniversary of the national anthem. So, hell, it paid off already.
Full Metal Jackie: Dave, is there anything you can tell us about the update and where things are at with new music?
Mustaine: Sure. I'm just kind of fiddling around with songs. I sent a song over to management. I'm working with Ron Laffitte again, and Ron and I were together during the heyday of MEGADETH's biggest records — "Rust", "Countdown" and "Youthanasia". He's a metal fan, and we've been friends for a real long time. And I was interested to see what his opinion was. 'Cause the last guy we had managing us was really a sweetheart of a guy, but he wasn't really born in the wool, if you know what I mean. So he didn't really understand metal that much, and if I would have sent him a song, he could have said it was great, but deep down inside, I believe I probably would have said, "Yeah, what do you know?" I sent a song over to Ron and he freaked out. Because he said it's like the old-school stuff and "I can't wait to see what happens." This is a guy that wouldn't say stuff like that unless he was serious. So, the band guys are all excited about it too. Now, as far as collaborating and stuff like that for new music, that's on these guys' shoulders. I've got, in my Pro Tools rig I've been working on, I have over 130 songs that I've been working on — just pieces of stuff and saving them and fixing them and making them right and making more complex and more melodic and heavier and stuff. And I'm ready to go. [laughs] I'm just gonna see what these guys do — if they're gonna hang out and just rely on me, or if they've got some ideas up their sleeve. And the other thing, too, a song isn't just music — there's lyrics to it, too, and the melody. I can have a great-sounding song, but the vocal line can suck. [laughs] So, having someone come in and say, "Hey, try this," is always great.