Dave Mustaine says that he would be "honored" if he was asked to rejoin METALLICA but would decline to return to the band that fired him more than three decades ago.
Mustaine, who was the original lead guitarist of METALLICA, was dismissed from the band by drummer Lars Ulrich in 1983. He was replaced by Kirk Hammett and went on to form MEGADETH and achieve worldwide success on his own.
Asked by a fan on Twitter earlier today (Friday, August 20) if he would come back to METALLICA if the band's frontman, James Hetfield, asked him to do it, Mustaine replied: "I would be honored, but I would not."
Mustaine feuded with the members of METALLICA for more than two decades before finally patching things up over the last few years. He has jammed with his ex-bandmates on several occasions during "Big Four" shows and at METALLICA's 30th anniversary concerts in 2011.
The MEGADETH leader apologized to Hetfield in May 2012 for publicly discussing the fact that Dave wanted to assemble a "supergroup" combining Mustaine and MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson with Hetfield and Ulrich.
Hetfield laughed off talk of a possible collaboration between members of his band and members of MEGADETH in an interview, calling it "crazy" talk on the part of Mustaine.
Hetfield told So What!, METALLICA's fan club magazine, "I see [Mustaine] healthier now. I see him as less of a bitter guy. But I do see a lot of stuff in the press with him talking about jamming with us and making an album. All this other crazy stuff. I read it and say to myself, 'Hold on. This is the Dave that we kind of wanted to forget about. You know, the big-mouth that wants to just go-go-go."
Hetfield added, "But there is an authenticity about him when he speaks. He doesn't think too much before he does. He just goes off the cuff. Plus, when he says stuff like that, it's well-intended."
In an interview with Artisan News, Mustaine was asked about Hetfield's comments. "I already sent [James] a text message and said I apologized to him for saying that and that I won't ever mention it again," Mustaine said. "I like James and I thought what he said was flattering, and then it kind of went the opposite way, and then it kind of came back again. And you know, that's OK. I guess my whole thing was I just wanted them to know that I loved them and that I missed them and I enjoyed playing with them. If that's not mutual, then I understand. I still respect him, and I still care about the guy. If he doesn't wanna play [with me] anymore, that's cool. If he doesn't like the idea of what I said, that's OK, too. It wasn't like I said it was gonna happen, it was something that I kind of wished would happen. But you know, it's OK now, since it doesn't seem like it's gonna happen. And you know what?! It's off my bucket list."
He added, "The thing is that I probably shouldn't have said stuff like that, 'cause, I guess, to some people, they may think that I'm trying to use that as a way to get publicity, so I can see where there would be some feelings about it, and that wasn't my intention."
Mustaine joined his former METALLICA bandmates on stage on December 10, 2011 for the fourth and final intimate show at the Fillmore in San Francisco as part of the group's week-long celebration of its 30th anniversary as a band for fan club members only.
Photo credit: Seymour Duncan