Chuck Myden of Mydenrocks recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Mydenrocks: I love the intensity on the new CD ["United Abominations"]. Did that intensity come out natural or did you gear your writing to high intensity material?
Dave Mustaine: I didn't go into making this record with any pre-conceived notions. I was just so disillusioned with the record business after what happened with Capitol and Sanctuary Records. After going over to Sanctuary, I thought "Hey, this is different. These guys undersand. They're metal people. My God, they manage IRON MAIDEN." It ended up being more of the same difficulties I had with Capitol. Both labels had difficulties with the songs and issues with the songs that really couldn't be solved. Going over to Roadrunner when we went in to do this record... so far it's been...there's been some ups and downs. I think alot of that translated into the intensity on the record. There was stuff that was going on in my personal life that even transcended the difficulties from working with a corporation. When you're trying to do something like create art, the nature of art if very un-corporate. Do you follow me? I'm not necessarily anti-corporate. When you're trying to pitch a song to a corporate entity, it's kind of like trying to explain an orgasm to a virgin. Both sides have different points of view. You can't really get an artist to think like a corporation, but it's automatically thought that you will think like a corporation by default. So some of the energy on the record is there because there was seemingly the same syndrome that has been the same with me the whole time I've been a recording artist. There's also a refreshment there that really excited me and fortunately for me all of the beuracratic stuff is out of the way. The art side is starting to show through. I'm really excited about what the future holds for me with the label and what my gift has been given to me about being able to play guitar and sing.
Mydenrocks: Was there any comromising on the new songs or did you end up having 100 percent artistic freedom?
Dave Mustaine: Put it this way....there were decisions that I had made in the beginning stages that weren't resonating with me. When I had talked with the A&R person at the label, who was assigned to me, we were in agreement about a lot of things that deep down I just didn't feel right about. I kept perservering though. We knew the songs had to be lyrically re-approached to properly convey what I was trying to say — if you confront an enemy head on, you're going to have a battle. But, sometimes, you have to come sweeping in from the flank in order to win. I had to use that same concept for several different points of view in order to get my ideas across lyrically. I would be doing a disservice to myself if I said I didn't have artistic freedom.
Mydenrocks: Are you planning on breaking out alot of the new songs live once the record comes out?
Dave Mustaine: We don't even choose songs from a record to play live until after a record comes out. As it is right now we're playing "Washington Is Next!" and "Sleepwalker". We started playing those two songs live because before we went into the studio we wanted to do some work on them. We played them live a couple of times and they became popular, so they've stuck. Somebody had bootlegged "Washington Is Next!" and put it up on YouTube, so it got popular from that. "Sleepwalker" was a song we gave to our fan club to give them a little tidbit of what was coming. We also played "Gears of War". But "Gears of War" was something that was released intentionally as a demo for Microsoft's Xbox Gears of War game. We had sponsorship from Microsoft it was quite an honor to be working with them. We finished the song off because of that game. It didn't have lyrics for the game — it was just music. When Microsoft heard it, they loved and wanted it on the game. I thought it would be great. I said to our manager at the time "Tell them we'll write the lyrics and call it 'Gears of War'." Microsoft said it was too late to get it in the game with lyrics, but we could do whatever we wanted to do with the song. I thought that was great of them and we finished off the song. It was really, really exciting being involved with an Xbox game.
Mydenrocks: What are you touring plans beyond the HEAVEN AND HELL tour? Will you tour the states later in the year to really push the new release?
Dave Mustaine: We tentatively have dates booked for this summer over in Europe. July and August are off time unless one of those crazy things happend like "Hey! You want to do a song for the new James Bond movie?" If something crazy were to happen like that, we jump on it. Other than that though, we're just going to take some time off. We are looking at going back out in the states at some point. but, that's not confirmed yet because we've got the rest of the world to tour. So far all we've got on the books is Europe, but I would like to hit the South Pacific, South America, Africa, etc.
Mydenrocks: What's your take on the current metal scene? I read your not too fond of some of the newer bands using loops, etc.
Dave Mustaine: There is use of ProTools on this record. I'm not going to say that on this record we didn't take advantage of the new techniques. Someone thought that I had recorded the new record on tape and I was like "Dude! I'm old, but not that old! Come on now..." I just think that it's really sad with bands that are capable of playing and they just get lazy. Especially, when it comes down to an epic part of a song and you can tell they could do it but they just don't do it. In certain circumstances, with anybody, if you have a part that's got a mistake and your stuff is packed up, you're doing the mix and notice a mistake - you have to correct the mistake. At that point, it's a given to do something where you drop in a note or a small loop to fix it. For the most part, I hear alot of these newer metal metal bands that heavily use looping and stuff like that. Thank God those bands are starting to go away. For me I think the beauty of metal is that it's a way of life. It's not something we've converted to — it's just that's who we are. The fans haven't changed that much except maybe their appearance. When I first started playing, you looked at all these guys who were wearing a denim vest and they would have all the names of all the bands they liked on there. That was pretty much enough to getting an MMPI (personality information) on them. It was easier to identify a metal fan back then.
Mydenrocks: Don't take offense to this, but let's face it MEGADETH had a downturn there for a few records and you lost some fans. However, after people get to hear "United Abominations", I think you will win those fans back and then some. You really nailed a homerun and this is the record MEGADETH fans have been waiting on for along time.
Dave Mustaine: Thanks! I can respect what you're saying. I don't take offense to it at all. There was a decline after "Risk" and I know that. That's the nature of my career. There was another writer involved that was part of MEGADETH and his manager was really trying to control the band. Ultimately, it cost him his partnership with his partner, cost him his relationship with MEGADETH, and broke up a great lineup. Hopefully, the metal fans will like this. This is a true MEGADETH record.
Read the entire interview at Mydenrocks.