Dave Mustaine says that he "didn't care" that the house band played the song "Master Of Puppets" from his former band METALLICA when MEGADETH was honored with its first-ever Grammy on February 12.
MEGADETH was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" for the title track of "Dystopia". This marked the band's twelfth Grammy nomination in this category (including nominations in the discontinued "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance" category).
Asked by Grammy.com what it was like winning his first award, Mustaine said: "It was really exciting. We were all sitting in a row, and when Margaret Cho [one of the pre-telecast hosts] had said, 'Dystopia', we were all ready to hear 'M_' [for MEGADETH], and she went 'D_' [for 'Dystopia'], and I think it kind of faked all of us out for a little while. And then after she said 'Dystopia' and said 'MEGADETH' really loud, I was, like, 'Oh my God! We got it.' So I remember standing up and being pretty excited."
He continued: "It was a long way from our seat to the stage, and a lot of people are making a big deal about the house band playing a METALLICA song. I don't care. I didn't care at all. It was about the award. I thought winning the award was great."
Mustaine added: "I wish that there would have been more time so that the [other] guys [in MEGADETH] could have had something to say too, but I know they're all gonna get their chance to say whatever they wanna say about winning the award."
Mustaine was fired from METALLICA in 1983 — some three years before "Master Of Puppets" was released — over substance abuse and anger issues. Although he later conceded that he was "bitter" for a period of time after being dismissed, he insisted that any perceived feud with his former bandmates was an illusion.
Mustaine recently told Radio.com that he "didn't even notice" "Master Of Puppets" being played as he walked toward the stage to give his acceptance speech. "It just sounded like some music in the background," he said. "The funny thing is that when I went back and listened to my acceptance speech, and I heard the song, I was, like, 'Wow!' Everyone was asking me, 'What about the METALLICA thing?' And I said, 'I didn't hear it, I just saw it.' 'How could you not have heard it?' I didn't know what they were talking about. I thought that they were talking about METALLICA's performance. Because we split [after the pre-televised awards]. By the time they did their thing with Lady Gaga, we were across the street eating dinner. So I went back and listened to my acceptance speech and I went, 'Wow!'"
He continued: "I didn't mind them playing it at all, it's a house band, and they're doing cover songs. They were probably saying, 'We don't know any MEGADETH songs. How about if we do a METALLICA song?' But when I went back and listened to it, I was, like, 'Oh my God! That's the worst version of 'Master Of Puppets' I've ever heard in my life!'"
When the interviewer pointed out to Mustaine that the house "house band seemed to be playing pretty random songs," Mustaine agreed: "They could've done a Cyndi Lauper song! [Laughs] I was just happy to be up there. It's about being recognized."
The members of METALLICA have been mostly respectful while discussing their onetime member, with guitarist Kirk Hammett saying on a podcast last fall: "I've always seen Dave as someone who was just really, really sad, really angry, really frustrated about his situation with METALLICA, and he never could let that go. And, you know, I've always shown a lot of empathy for him, understanding that he was just pissed off. It's the equivalent of the woman of your life leaving you."
MEGADETH recently completed a month-long U.S. tour with AMON AMARTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, METAL CHURCH and BUTCHER BABIES.