Jim Barber of Kingston, Ontario, Canada's daily newspaper Kingston Whig Standard recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On MEGADETH's upcoming shows in Canada as part of this year's Gigantour alongside MOTÖRHEAD, VOLBEAT and LACUNA COIL:
Mustaine: "I think our management and agents want to kill us, that's why they booked us in Canada in February. I am sure (Canadian drummer Shawn) Drover is going to be ready. But seriously, it's not so much about any potential inconvenience of discomfort because of the weather, because we're going to be travelling in a nice warm bus. We're coming there to entertain people and to help them feel good. It's just the right thing to do, to not let the elements intimidate you, especially if you're a metal band."
On how a venerable Canadian rock band played a role in a teenaged Mustaine taking music a serious vocation and not just an entertaining pastime:
Mustaine: "I was at a festival called Cal-Jam, and one of your countrymen, April Wine, was playing. And I had gone there because I wanted to see UFO, because I dug Michael Schenker, and VAN HALEN was playing too. And everybody I was with was getting high, and I was really young and still very impressionable, so I went along for the ride with everyone else, and was in sort of la-la land, and the dude does this really great song, doing a harmonica solo and he throws the harp out into the audience, and I am standing there and I swear to God, it just plopped right into my hand. And I was like, 'wow, is this my destiny to be a rock star?' And that was it. That was the moment when the switch was turned on, and then not long after when I first heard AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock', that was the guitar record that blew my mind."
Mustaine: "You know what, to tell you the truth I didn't even know who they were until I met Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer]. I went to his apartment when I first met him and on the wall he had a picture of their drummer Phil (Philthy Animal) Taylor. And James [Hetfield, METALLICA guitarist/vocalist] was also really hell bent for MOTÖRHEAD. I've liked them since then, but having them out on tour now is totally awesome, because as I grew as a metal fan, I started to really dig the energy and the longevity of the band. And (frontman Ian) Lemmy (Kilmister) and I have been good friends for a while now. There's kind of a very loyal bond between frontmen, like a frontman's club. I am a terrible liar so if I would have told you I was influenced by Lemmy and MOTÖRHEAD, you'd know I was lying. But I was and am a fan. For me, being a fan and being influenced by something are two different things."
Mustaine: "I like the way this format makes people feel, because when you go to a festival, and there are several bands, it's got a really great vibe. You go home feeling a certain way. And let's face facts, the entertainment value of concerts these days is pretty low. When I go to a concert, I want to see some activity. I want to see some movement. I want to see some showbiz, you know what I mean?"
On MEGADETH's new album, "TH1RT3EN":
Mustaine: "We tried hard when we were making this record to really get the best that we could in the amount of time that we had. We only had two months to make the whole record, and the first thing we had to do was make a song for a video game. So that took a week, meaning we only really had seven weeks. But that can be fun when you get under the gun like that, because you really have to dig deep. I think that's what gave this record the kind of energetic feeling that it has, because we were wired. Frenetic is a good word for it."
On MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson's return to the band:
Mustaine: "It was so good when he came back. We had a couple of other bass players in the interim, and they were good guys, but there's a sound that Dave has. When we first started playing together I said, 'You're going to play bass guitar like it's a lead guitar, cool?' And we took that same approach with the drums, because the drum is a percussive instrument, but each shell has its own note. So we would play riffs on the drums that would go along with the guitar riffs."
On MEGADETH garnering its 10th Grammy nomination for the single "Public Enemy No. 1", from "TH1RT3EN", in the category of "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance":
Mustaine: "I haven't won yet, so I don't really know what it means to win a Grammy. The bummer is that if we do win, we won't be there to accept it because we're going to be on tour."
Read the entire interview from Kingston Whig Standard.