Jen Guyre of Roadrunner Records recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine about Dave's newly published autobiography, "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir". A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Q: With so much sordid history and life experiences, how did you manage to narrow down what you covered for your autobiography?
Mustaine: Well, the legal process kind of vetted the book out. Going through some of the stories and knowing that a lot of the people I told the story about would be in jail, probably next to me, we left some of the stories out. Like, if you have drugs in your pocket and you drive, you're a felon. If you have somebody underage and you cross the state line, you're a kidnapper. All kinds of crazy stuff happened over the course of our career. As much as people think that I'm the bad guy, I was like the big brother that would say, "What are you thinking?" all the time. When we were in England and we had to cancel the Monsters of Rock festival because of [MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson — everybody knew I had a drug problem, but they didn't know he had one, so it was really surprising to them. I think it kind of left room for some more storytelling, and I think the success of this, being a best seller now, there's more to the story. This is like up until now, and in fact it's not even until now it's until a year ago, and so much great stuff has happened in the last year that it's mind-boggling. Getting back together with the "Big Four" and all that stuff, having my old bass player come back, it's been really, really great.
Q: Tell me a little bit more about what went on behind the scenes to make this book happen. You mentioned the legal process, so did you have to get approval from those involved, or is it just your perspective?
Mustaine: No, we included a lot of people. Part of the reason I think this book reads the way it does is that I wanted it to be honest. A lot of people don't like me because I'm honest about what happens. If I don't like something I'll say so. I'd rather have someone tell me they don't like me than lie to my face. That's just how I am, and I've always been like that. I remember when I first went over to England and I basically shot from the hip how I am, they freaked out. They had never heard anybody talk like that before. It's like, no come on this is how I am, I share what I feel. If I see somebody, for example that guy Riki Rachtman from MTV's "Headbangers Ball", I didn't even really know that guy, but the fan's liked watching me pick on him. He liked it when I picked on him. And I was like, "Why?" you know? Its' just one of those weird things. Some people love the attention and in a weird way that thing had it's own kind of dynamic. Now that's not in there, because it wasn't really that important.
Q: But you have been crucified for being vocal about your thoughts and feelings in the past, so have you experienced any blowback from what you've written?
Mustaine: No. I don't have a lot of stuff that intimidates me in this world because I've died once, I've been through all kinds of stuff with lineup changes, changing management and labels, ups and downs with marriage, with my kids, all that kind of stuff, and I've been really open about it so that the public's aware of it and there's nothing really in the book I think that's going to get me into any trouble. There's one or two people in there I would have liked to have barbequed because of the way I feel about them, and it would have been real easy to have told a couple stories that would have destroyed them because of what kind of people they really are and the way that they've got the public fooled, but I'm not a caped crusader going around telling people who the phonies are in the music industry. Water has a way of finding its own level, and these guys will be exposed. The bummer was the legal process because we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars going over this book — over and over and over — with all the legal stuff that was involved in it. It's crazy when you think about making a book; you're not going to make a mountain of money off of it, you think you're doing it as a labor of love and then you watch all of your proceeds go away because of the litigiousness of our country. It's a bummer. Even the U.K. book is more vetted because of the legal process. I guess in England if you have a book and you put it out, there are attorney's that survive just on book releases. They go through the books and they look for somebody saying something about somebody and they contact them and say, "Let's sue." So that kind of sucked the fun out of the process of the book being released in the U.K., but like I said I'm pretty straight about stuff like that. If I did something that was wrong I copped to it, and if somebody else did something, I pretty much left it alone because I'm not going to save my skin at someone else's expense. That's not very cool.
Read the entire interview from Roadrunner Records.