In his 2014 book "I'm The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax", ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian wrote this about former METALLICA guitarist and current MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine: "The guy is arguably the godfather of thrash metal. He wrote a lot of the riffs on [METALLICA's] 'Kill 'Em All' [album] and even some of 'Ride The Lightning'. Without Dave Mustaine, maybe thrash metal never would have happened. At least in the beginning, he was the driving force, artistically."
Asked if he is truly "the godfather of thrash metal" and whether Ian's comment about thrash metal possibly not having happened had Mustaine not been involved, Dave told Loudwire (see video below): "I think there's a good chance it might not have… The guitar player that we hired in METALLICA before James [Hetfield] actually started playing [guitar] was… he wasn't metal. And if he would have been the guy that we chose over me, who knows what would have happened? And I think that if you really look at the mathematics of METALLICA in the beginning, me being the only guitar player, if I wasn't there, there probably wouldn't have been a METALLICA. But let's not kid ourselves: James is a great guitar player; he really is. And I'm sure that at some point they would have realized that he needed to play guitar and sing, and they would found a guitar player as good as I am. I just know that about those guys; they're excellent musicians and they know what they want. Now, if James would have been playing guitar at the time when I joined? I don't know… I don't know that that would have held the same kind of merit. You know what I mean? But since I was the only guy there, I think it's probably pretty accurate."
Mustaine, who was a member of METALLICA for less than two years, from 1981 to 1983, before being dismissed and replaced by Kirk Hammett, was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band during the April 2009 ceremony at Cleveland, Ohio's Public Auditorium.
METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich later explained to The Plain Dealer that Mustaine was not included because "you've got to kind of cap it somewhere. Dave Mustaine never played on any METALLICA records. No disrespect to him. But there [were] half a dozen other people that were in the lineup in the early days. We thought . . . the fair thing to do would be to include anybody that played on a METALLICA record."
He added: "Dave Mustaine was in the band for 11 months, predominantly in 1982. . . . I'm not trying to play it down. I have nothing but respect and admiration for his accomplishments since."