By Keith CarmanWhat are you up to? Well, after my role as a stuntman in the last James Bond film… I'm just getting ready to release a new record [United Abominations]. After a fiasco with the art department, it looks like the record may be pushed back again. There have been a few issues with getting this record out but life can't go smoothly. If there weren't challenges, it wouldn't be life. I've actually been pursuing acting in my later years so I've been reading scripts. I was reading this one because I thought it would star Ben Stiller. I was like, "Alright! Ben Stiller!” After reading my part, which would have been a hip-hop/drug dealer sort, I realised it was a Ben Affleck movie. Goodbye!
What are your current fixations? The television show 24 is my latest fixation. The writers from Fox actually did the liner notes for the record, which was a coup. Wonderful for me. Megadeth has been a political band from the start so people asking if this record is political, well, duh! I like to keep healthy and golf once in a while. I like to hit the ball but I just don't like having to hunt around for it afterwards. I should use those bright hot pink ones.
Why do you live where you live? I like the hills [in Palm Brook, California] and how it's remote. If anyone trespasses, I can shoot them. No, I don't actually own a gun so it would have to be with a rubber band. The area is actually infamous for a KKK member once living there and for the horticulturalists or botanists or whatever you call those cultivating type of people who grow ten-foot pot plants. I like this area because it's a sleepy community. I don't get restless here and I'm not the only celebrity in town. Everyone here is used to it so you don't get bothered with people trying to take pictures of you with celebrities you wouldn't otherwise be seen with, who you have nothing in common with.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art. I was just in a museum with my wife and daughter. I like Dali because I think the surreal element is cool but I'm not a Picasso proponent. I just don't get the "classics.”
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why? I think playing with AC/DC in 2001 was great because they were a big, influential group for me. Playing Buenos Ares in 2005 was great as well because it was the best experience I've had between band and audience - about 25,000 of them. They were so energetic it was amazing. You could really feel the connection and it was a substantial crowd singing along to every word. Sometimes the audience seems to know the songs better than the band.
What have been your career highs and lows? The low would have been when [drummer] Gar Samuelson passed away and I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. We'd lost touch and he's not much older than me. The thought didn't register at the time though with all of the things going on in my life. My high would be that I'm ensuring something of that sort doesn't happen again. I'm making peace with the people I've had conflict with over the years, which is a really good feeling.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig? No one's been that stupid.
What should everyone shut up about? Political correctness.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself? I think I have degrees of wisdom and honesty. That's what I look for in other people as well. Someone has to be strong to be wise and honest for me to truly appreciate them and not many people have that.
What advice should you have taken, but didn't? If you're gonna hit him, you have to hit me first.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you? I certainly have… out of the band for betrayal and/or the inability to perform. At this level, you have to stay healthy and mature. If you can't perform for any reason, you're making mistakes that upset the apple cart. In my bed, well, it's just my wife. In the past though, if they wet it, barfed in it or hogged the blankets.
What do you think of when you think of Canada? I'm proud that the band is one-half Canadian now so I embrace that. People get upset when you say "America” and only refer to the United States because of Canada, Mexico, North America and South America, but I feel like we're representing all of North America in some capacity. In the past, when we'd be in Italy, [former drummer] Nick Menza would say, "These are my people!” or whatever. I'm a mutt, so I could say that anywhere. But now we're part Canadian.
Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die? Being crushed by my own wallet.
Right or wrong, Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine has always been defined by his no-holds-barred honesty, often mistaken as misguided anger. Be it of a political or personal nature, this intelligent - albeit riley - singer and guitarist always has an opinion and it has certainly caused him his fair share of grief. Driven to form Megadeth some 24 years ago in well-publicised retaliation at being unceremoniously booted from one of the world's biggest bands, Metallica, his history is long and storied to the point of garnering his own VH1 Behind The Music episode. He has toured the world countless times with his seminal metal outfit, battled drug addiction that has pushed him beyond the brink of death, and has ensued countless struggles and strife with a string of band mates, medical issues et cetera.Undaunted by years of this rocky success, Mustaine can't be beaten though. It's seen him painted as cocksure and confrontational by press and fans alike through the years, something he looks to alter of late. Set to release Megadeth's 11th full-length effort United Abominations with new label Roadrunner Records, Mustaine is in different state of mind. Calmer and more focused/positive ("though it hasn't affected my playing,” he notes) he's still unmistakably political and angry. But now it's pointed at the right targets, resulting in the band's best work in years.