Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former MEGADETH guitarist Jeff Young. Several excerpts follow:
Blasting-Zone.com: How did you become involved with MEGADETH?
Jeff: "I was frustrated. I had been in L.A. for about four years and I was probably about a month to four months away from just chuckin' it. L.A.'s just silly. I remember I had just come back from a rodeo and there was a message on my machine. I played the answering machine message and it was Mustaine. He was just left a message. He said, 'Hey, let's get together around 3:30 on Melrose. There's something I wanna talk to you about.' So I went the next day and he gave me a tape of 'In My Darkest Hour'. 'In My Darkest Hour' was the first solo that I did, the first solo that I laid down. I had one night. He said, 'Come back tomorrow.' I didn't even get to hear the whole song, but I think it's a great solo and I love the part. I went home that night and just ripped over it and went in the next day and just cut it."
Blasting-Zone.com: Personally, I've always enjoyed the cover of "Anarchy In The U.K." from that album…
Jeff: "It was cool because they had (SEX PISTOLS guitarist) Steve Jones come in and play. His arm was broken so he was playing the rhythm part with a cast. He rode his Harley right into the studio that day and just cut it. I remember he didn't have any money, so we offered to give him some cash and he was like, 'Oh, no, mate. Just give me some suction.' I don't think we ever actually got him any suction. I guess he wanted us to take care of his sex pistol (laughs). After I talked to Mustaine and laid down the solos for 'In My Darkest Hour'… Paul Lani was actually there that night, and he was diggin' it. After that, every day they'd give me a new tape. I had already been messin' around with 'Hook In Mouth' so I had that. I was literally listening to something in the morning, playing over the changes and then goin' in in the afternoon, and just doin' it. I just kept doin' that with song after song until I had done every part that they had needed. That's how I really discovered MEGADETH's music. 'Peace Sells' was the album I was listening to and I still think it's their best."
Blasting-Zone.com: Even better than "So Far, So Good…So What?!"?
Jeff: "I think the songwriting is better and I think the playing… There was something about the production. Everything just came together with that one, I think. I think ('So Far, So Good…So What?!') kicks ass, but it wasn’t produced right or mixed right. Even the remix I don't like, but that's another story."
Blasting-Zone.com: Overall, how would you describe your tenure with MEGADETH?
Jeff: "During the time I was in the band, they didn't really function like a band. Even before we went out on tour, I don't think we rehearsed more than twenty times. I'm the kind of person that likes to rent a place, set up and rehearse…just really get it tight. That's not where they were at the time. They were distracted, so I just practiced my parts. Even though I had finished and had done all of the solos, it wasn't like I was in. There was a kind of audition tour for Chuck and I. I think there was like six or nine gigs up the West Coast. But I think by like the second show, we pretty much nailed the gig. I went from playin' for four walls to playin for… Our first L.A. tour was for audiences of like ten to fifteen thousand. The album came out and within the first two weeks, it was in the Top 20 of the pop charts. It was a hit and we hit. We toured pretty much everywhere, concluding with the Monsters Of Rock show at Castle Donington, that was my last show with the band. The last show was IRON MAIDEN, KISS, DAVID LEE ROTH, GUNS N' ROSES, MEGADETH. GUNS opened for us because they were just breaking. .It was a trip because you pull up and there's like a hundred and twenty five or a hundred and fifty thousand people and I had been used to playin' for like thirty or fifty thousand or even sixty at some of the bigger festivals. It was like double anything I had ever played."
Blasting-Zone.com: At what point did you realize your time with MEGADETH had come to an end?
Jeff: "We were supposed to play — and this is a true story — four or five more shows on that Monsters Of Rock tour. Castle Donington was the just the first and the biggest. All of the others still would have been like fifty and eighty thousand in other countries. Dave was so fucked up on heroin that he had to go back (to the U.S.) to go to rehab so they made up this story that Dave Ellefson had fractured his wrist, couldn't play bass and couldn't finish the shows. That's when Dave went back to L.A. and went into rehab. Everyone was just like 'Oh, fuck…' and TESTAMENT came and took our place. We went back and he was in rehab and that was a whole heavy time because he was trying to get us to smuggle dope into rehab. That was like the beginning of the end, there. I could tell a lot of other stories about what went down to the lead up, but it's all water under the bridge now."
Read the entire interview at Blasting-Zone.com.