MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was interviewed by Dave and Herb on the 199th episode of "Pensado's Place". You can now watch the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the songwriting process:
Mustaine: "Usually what happens when I'm gonna write something is I have to be inspired by something. And usually somebody pisses me off and I'll pick my guitar up and I'll start playing. For example, the song 'Reckoning Day', I was driving in my SL convertible in Phoenix — we just moved there. I didn't know what a monsoon was, and I was caught in one. There was, like, two inches of water on my floorboard, and I went in there and started punching my guitar in. I think that, whether you're happy or you're sad, whether you're lonely or you're with a million people, you emote through your guitar. The guitar has helped me say things that I can't say with my mouth; I can say it with my hands. Because when you can play a piece of music and someone else can go, 'I feel what you're feeling through that music,' then you've made a really cool bond with somebody."
On the state of metal and rock music:
Mustaine: "Some of the music, I think, is really exciting. I think that metal has been pushed to extremes right now. But when it gets to the point where it's so extreme, you've gotta think, you know, can people understand what you're saying? Can people differentiate the notes? Is it a song or does it just sound like someone has turned on the garbage disposal. So, for me, I'm excited about what's happening with music, I'm excited [about] what's happening with technology. I think the bad part about that is that a lot of people that should not be in a band and out on the road touring and clogging up the road are out there… Like, there's a lot of pre-manufactured bands, they write one little lick and then they cut and paste and cut and paste and cut and paste and make a whole song. There's tons of bands out that — many of them are platinum even now — that have done that. I like playing from beginning to end. If you make a mistake, do it over. Don't tune it. But that's what a lot of the things that technology has made for people… In certain circumstances, you don't have the time to do that. Like if you're a session cat and you're working for a TV show, hey, it doesn't matter that the rhythm is terrible, it doesn't matter that your solos sound like Rick Springfield. You've gotta do your job. In those circumstances, the music is like a second thought. But when music is your primary thing, you've really gotta pay attention to it. The more genuine it is, at the end of the day, the better you can sleep."
On being honest while writing music and lyrics:
Mustaine: "Speaking the truth is the most rebellious thing you can possibly do; that is rock and roll. If you're gonna make everybody happy, you're a pussy. Somebody is gonna get upset. If you're being true to yourself, you're gonna make some waves. I break rules. I don't try to break laws, but I will break rules. And that's how I live my life. I'm not afraid of anybody; I never have been. I know there's plenty of people out there that could hurt me real bad, but you know what?! That's their trip."
On the difficulties of keeping a band together:
Mustaine: "I think when you get in a band, you kind of think everybody's wearing the same uniform and everybody's on the same team, but sometimes, you know, guys in bands, they meet 'Mrs. Right Now,' and they come into the band, and it's like in [the 1984 rock music mockumentary] '[This Is] Spinal Tap': 'There's somebody already in the organization.' So, sometimes that has happened. I think if you look at history, drugs, money or women have ruined every band in existence… But for me, I think the best thing to do is be honest with the people that you play with. I think that we've had a lot of lineup changes over the years because people have changed their mind about what they wanted MEGADETH to be. And MEGADETH is in here [points to his head], it's not out there [points to the sky], so when other people try to change it, I'm open-minded to it, but if it's not MEGADETH, it's not right. And sometimes we've had personality problems. A lot of the breakups were over drugs, because there was a period for a very long time that the band, everybody had their own drug of choice, because that's how it was back then. The hardest part was having a drug problem and having money, because the drugs weren't a problem. So you were always dealing with this, and smuggling into that country, and doing this and doing that, and it got to be so exhausting doing that. And we just said, 'You know what?! You guys are gone,' and started over. [MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson has been sober almost 25 years."
On what advice he would give to younger musicians starting bands:
Mustaine: "Just be honest with the guys that you're playing with. Be careful who you pick, because you tell somebody that they're in a band with you, you also have to tell them that they're not. And at some point it's gonna hurt. And if you're that kind of person that gets off on hurting people, then cool. But if you really care about the people that you're playing with in the first place… Being in a band with people is the closest you can get — forgive me for saying this — but it's the closest you can get without having sex with each other. Because that's the only place left for you to go. Because you're that close; you're putting your minds together, you're putting your talents together, you're putting your skill, your sweat, your blood, your time… You're sacrificing your kids. I sacrificed everything that I wanted to be to be in MEGADETH. And for me, it paid off. And I didn't compromise my values. A lot of times I was out of fashion, but you know what?! I still had these [raises his middle fingers], and that's all that mattered."