David Farrier of New Zealand's 3 News conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine backstage at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland earlier tonight (Monday, October 5) prior to the band's performance with SLAYER. Watch the chat in three parts below. A few excerpts from the interview follow.
On the role of politics in MEGADETH's music:
Mustaine: "The way that the world is right now, it's not even about living peacefully with each other; it's about who's got the biggest bombs. And that's really sad. Especially right now, what's happening in my country, being an American.
"I love my country, but I'm also an international musician, so I go places...
"Yesterday I was looking at a store for some t-shirts and it was saying a bunch of bad stuff about America and a bunch of bad stuff about Bush. And it's like, I can agree with the bad stuff about the former administration, but until you've been to America, judging us as America based off of what our government is like, that's not fair. So I try and be as unbiased as possible with our politics and the stuff that we talk about and try and keep it more about what view as Joe Everyman is gonna experience."
"When Obama became president, there were a lot of people that were really happy. I didn't vote for him. And I don't think he's going to be a great president. And right now we already see all of these things going wrong. He spends too much time on TV; it's all about his dates with his wife. Who cares?! Everybody goes and eats dinner with their family. And not enough stuff is getting done. But all of a sudden now, he's the president of the UN, too, so he's the most powerful man in the world. I mean, think about that. There's all this prediction in faith and stuff about there being one-world government, one-world currency... stuff like that. Well, dinero, the euro... all these different types of money, they're narrowing it down to just a few different currencies. Look at what's happening in Europe, with all the face of all those countries just losing itself."
On people who say that heavy metal bands like MEGADETH haven't got anything worthwhile to say about what's going on in the world:
Mustaine: "Well, they obviously haven't heard my music. I think it's really safe to make generalized statements — to say heavy metal, in general, is boorish and that the lyrics are inane. But, for me, I look at it like this: If that's all you've got to work with, how can you be really eloquent with your words? Most guys in heavy metal, they're salt of the earth. We are like people who don't generally mix with the rest of the society and we found something that works. Now me, I'm pretty verbose, I've been to the White House, I've covered the Democratic National Convention, I've met the President... I've done a lot of things. I got a bill passed into law in the United States. So I'm kind of an anomaly."
On the bill that he got passed into law in the United States:
Mustaine: "[It was the] motor-voter bill. What happens is that in the United States of America, you need to be registered in order to vote. And it was such an inconvenience to find a polling place in order to get registered prior to voting, and the polling places made it even more difficult. So what we did was we figured, 'OK, what's the easiest way to do this?' Rock The Vote was involved with it, MTV was involved with it, and I got involved with it with a couple of other celebrities. There's a provision on the driver's license forms that says, 'Do you wanna register to vote?' All you gotta do is just go [check a box] and you're registered. How simple is that? That, to me, is the American way — doing something that really simplifies people's lives without charging them a lot of money for it, you know what I mean?! This was so free — it was just a bunch of celebrities giving freely of their time. And now we've convenienced a country."
On METALLICA's "Some Kind Of Monster" documentary, which shows a very different side of him:
Mustaine: "I haven't seen it. Don't wanna see it. 'Cause I can never answer anything about METALLICA without it being taken out of context. Like, I said something about our new record ['Edgame'] — I think our new record is better than their new record ['Death Magnetic'], but that they have plenty of records that are better than stuff that I've done. So it's kind of... It was a compliment, but the people got hold of it in the press, and they said, 'Dave Mustaine thinks his record's better than METALLICA.' And it's like, 'Well, you've got ears.' You hear the two records and they totally sound different. And this was the first time I've believed over my whole career where I've actually had something that was.. not that it was comparable, but this is by far better. And I'm not saying this because it's me — even if I wasn't in MEGADETH, I would say this record's ['Endgame'] better than that one ['Death Magnetic'] because of the way it sounds.
"They're [METALLICA] a great band; they don't need me to compliment them. And the bottom line is that there is nothing I can say without it being taken out of context and wrong.
"It's kind of sad, because if I say 'I don't wanna talk about it,' I get slighted, [and] if I do talk about it, I get misquoted. And it doesn't have any bearing on my life at all.
"If there's an opportunity to play with these guys [METALLICA] in the future [as part of a METALLICA-MEGADETH tour], I'd consider it. I'll never play in the round, so if they wanna play with me, then we'll talk about it, but there's no talk; we haven't heard anything."
"You've gotta remember... See, thing is that they didn't have a pop-up video thing [in the 'Some Kind Of Monster' movie] where it said, 'Hey, Dave just turned 40 today and he's spending his birthday with Lars Ulrich [METALLICA drummer].' If it would have said that, people probably would have said, 'What a horrible way to spend your birthday. 40th birthday — spending it with a guy that is your rival.'
"What had happened was September 11 in 2001, our country was attacked — whether it was an inside job or not, nobody really has figured it out yet. And in the meanwhile, we were in Seattle, had to cancel our show out of respect to the nation, went into Canada and played the next day on the 12th and I was supposed to fly home on the 13th for my 40th birthday. Well, all the planes were grounded, so I had to ride in a bus from Canada all the way to San Francisco — couldn't go [home] to Phoenix — and by the time I did get to San Francisco, I was pretty upset. I'm thinking, 'I can't go home. My birthday party. All this stuff got set up for this, all this planning...' I mean, you don't even think about when something happens on the other side of the country, the ripple effect, how it affects all these other lives, but it did. And then I spent my night with him [Lars]. And it was like, 'I'll do it [take part in the filming], but I wanna be able to have the right of refusal [on whether the footage gets used in the film].' And after it was done, I said, 'I don't wanna do it.' And they went and did it anyway. So that was pretty much the end of the road with me. And Lars called me up and asked me to do the [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame thing, and I said, 'No.' . . .
"The only reason I even agreed to do [take part in the 'Some Kind Of Monster' filming] was because I had hoped it would heal our friendship and that we would be able to, at some point, be civil again.
"I still like James [Hetfield, METALLICA guitarist/vocalist] — I've always liked James. I think that's the consensus in the world, though — if you had to pick between the two of them, you'd pick James. And I've seen how my career has been helped by that and how it's been hurt by that. But a lot of the stuff that goes on with me in my career, it's not in my hands anyway — it's up to God, and he's already planned my whole life out. There was a lot of times when I did some stupid stuff, and you make those decisions yourself. And when you look at the wreckage after you're all done, it's kind of like, 'Wow! What did I do?' [laughs] 'Cause a lot of times, too, you'll look at it and you'll say, 'I didn't do this. I didn't cause this.' But just because you were there and you didn't do anything doesn't mean you didn't cause it — you could have stopped it."
On whether religion has changed his perspective on things and the way he operates:
Mustaine: "It's changed a lot of things. It's like, this whole thing you were just talking about [issues with METALLICA]. That has been resolved so many years ago, and it's the public and journos that keep it alive. I don't wanna talk about it — I'd rather have somebody stand on my foot than to talk about that again. And the thing with... We had some problems many years ago with SLAYER, too. It was something that had been said, it was regrettable, but it was 19 years ago. These guys [referring to SLAYER] don't care, I don't care — it's the fans that keep the stuff going. And when a guy is doing an interview and he's OK and somebody comes up and kicks him in the crotch with an unexpected question, it totally changes the demeanor of the interview. And then you'll say something because the interviewer has antagonized you, which is what their game is in the metal community right now — 'See if we can get a sound bite out of Dave. Let's piss him off.' And you know what?! It just doesn't work anymore with me, because I know before I even go into these things what's going on. And there's nothing I'm saying that I'm regretting."
On what's next for Dave Mustaine and whether MEGADETH has any more records left to make:
Mustaine: "I don't know about the records right now, because I absolutely hate my record company; I'm really disappointed with the American record company. . . Right now I have a radio show coming up this month for three years on Clear Channel. I have my autobiography coming out next year on HarperCollins, which is one of the biggest publishers . . . After this [New Zealand] tour, we go to Australia, we go to Japan, we go back to the States, we do the Canadian Carnage [tour], we do some more dates with SLAYER, we do the States with MACHINE HEAD and a band called SUICIDE SILENCE, which is kind of a hot band in America right now, and another band [called] ARCANIUM. And then after that we're gonna be going silent running for the holidays so that we can spend some time with our families and stuff. And then we start back up again in January — we're gonna go out for two months. It's a secret thing; I can't actually announce this, 'cause I know someone's gonna watch this... But we've got two months' worth of dates planned in the beginning of January, and then we're gonna be heading overseas for some festivals and some tours in Europe. The good thing is there are so many places that want us to play, we're gonna be pretty busy for the next year and a half."
3 News report: