First let’s preface what I thought was going to be a funny story ended up making me look like a jackass—thanks Dave! I’m kidding. Once Dave warmed up he was every bit the cool guy he seems. Here is our interview with Dave Mustaine!
I don’t know if this is the best way to start an interview, but when I was a kid I used to put the speakers into my living room window and blast one of my Megadeth records out to the kids who were waiting at the bus stop.
Were you trying to piss them off?
Maybe, well actually I was trying to prove I was cool.
I get yeah.
It didn’t last long; the neighbors didn’t appreciate that at eight in the morning.
You didn’t live by Waco, Texas did you?
No. I didn’t encourage any of that.
So you’re not a young Branch Davidian?
[Ouch!] Speaking of religion, well not fanatical, it seems there is a religious theme throughout the new record.
I don’t know what religious theme you are seeing—I must be getting old because I didn’t write anything religious.
[Dave and I really got off to a bad start] Well [I stammer] I meant in “Shadow of Deth.”
That song—how many people haven’t heard that whole thing [“I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”]? That was basically me looking back on my life. The motto of my code of arms is “Auxilium meum a Domino” which means my health comes from the lord—and that’s just it. I can’t change that. The psalms—the truth is, when my arm got damaged I really took a hard cold look at my whole understanding of things religious in nature and spiritual. Religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell whereas spirituality is for people like me who have been there. I finally realized that I don’t need religion to have a relationship with God because he has all the answers and I’m just guessing. I turned up the jets on this quest and I’ve made more commitments to live a peaceful life. That doesn’t mean I’m square or I’m a wimp—I still have fun. I get upset. I had two horses die on me a few months ago and it was the most pain I’ve felt in twenty years.
I had a dog pass away a few years ago and I know what you mean—their lives are so short that it seems cruel.
What I mean by the album having a religious theme before was there was a feeling of looking for something—and I wasn’t sure if it was religion.
You are totally right bro. There are things that are positive and encouraging stuff that can be seen as religious in nature. I really, I love people. I’m a people person. There are some people I love when they leave. I have a great relationship with family and friends and fans. I may not remember a fans name, but I’ll know their face when I see them again. I have relationships with people around the world where I can walk into a venue and say ‘hey man, how are you doing?” and remember them. One of the ways that I say you’re one of my friends and that I love you is “Hey man!” (We both laugh)
There does seem to be a humanistic element to the songs.
Charlie, you can talk to me and we can be the best of buds and you can tell me the truth every day and I can tell you the truth everyday but if one day I tell you a lie what am I?
Right. But up to that point I wasn’t a truth teller.
It’s normal. People put such connotation on sin and on us doing stuff that is wrong. It’s so heavy. The past few years of my life I’ve tried to live spiritually and I wanted to live in a certain way. There is so much happening in my life with lawsuits and people accusing me of stuff. I’m not going to engage it. I know what the truth is. I know that God loves me and that I have a great family and I have a great gift. I know I’m talented. I can start over again even if I play in front of Starbucks for free coffee. (We both laugh)
There is that belief that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—is it hard to see that when you are in the middle of something like this?
I think you can justify a person’s worth by the kind of schism that is around them where people are talking bad about them, lawsuits, and enemies. Someone that is influential and matters and that has contributed to society that can tell you how the cows ate the cabbage—this is someone that will have a bull’s eye on his forehead and get backstabbed. You know what? In the words of Tony Montana, “I can take your bullets.” (We both laugh)
And in the middle of all this strife you have this desire for peace in your life. It’s a clash—is the peace what keeps you sane?
I don’t welcome the controversy.
I hoping that was the case. (We both laugh)
I prefer the serenity of waking up in the morning to a cup of coffee and a Twinkie. That’s good. (We both laugh) The good comes with the bad and the fleas come with the dog. I know if I didn’t matter people wouldn’t be jealous of me. If I wasn’t loved people wouldn’t hate me. There are a lot of people out there who love me and an equal amount hate me. I’m the kind of guy that walks into a room and if nine people love me and one person hates me you know what? “Fuck you!” I’m not trying to convince them to love me.
Do you make the music for you and not trying to convince everyone just as you aren’t trying to make that one guy love you?
I’m not trying to stick my fingers in the eyes of the public and neiner-neiner them. This is the last Megadeth record and I wanted closure. On the very last line of the very last song of this last Megadeth record sums up everything: “I have lived through others for far too long, and carried my guilt, my causes, my sins/ I hope in the hereafter when I owe no more to the future that I can be just a man.”
The last one? Really? It’s nice how no one told me before the interview—well its best to hear it from you. So what is the future?
Solo, going into Dave Mustaine land.
What is the land of Mustaine like?
You know the Megadeth record you have right now?
If you take a quarter and scratch off Megadeth it says Dave Mustaine under there. (We both laugh) This was supposed to be a Dave Mustaine record and my publishing company said that I still the record label another Megadeth record. If it were a solo album it would have been a little less political and a bit more encouraging. The music will always stay the same. It’s just like these boneheads who say something is satanic or Christian music. Music is music. It’s the lyrics that are satanic or Christian. The fucking little black and white spots on a page—they don’t know what they are. It’s a note. Like some of these death metal bands who have great music but satanic lyrics. What they need is Barry Manilow in there to write some stuff. (We both laugh)
By the way—I scratched off Megadeth and it said that I won $10,000. I wish.
+ Charlie Craine