By Keith CarmanGuitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine is a heavy metal icon. Revered as the bulwark behind thrash metal progenitors Megadeth and its indelible impact on the world of music, the past 30 years of Mustaine's life have been an onslaught of music's most appealingly depraved aspects: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. From a heavy hand in establishing the formative ― and some would argue best ― roster/songs of fellow luminaries Metallica through creating his own definitive albums, stepping into elongated war of words with other bold personalities and a debaucherous personal lifestyle that would give members of infamous party outfit Mötley Crüe some serious heebie-jeebies, Mustaine has been around a block or two.
When one amasses Mustaine's list of accomplishments, embarrassments, feuds, fornication, addictions and amazing albums, it's one hell of a tale. Such is exactly the point behind his latest endeavour: putting pen to paper in an effort to recount the good, bad and ugly. The resulting affair dubbed Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (It Books) is an engaging, honest and occasionally surprising look at three decades in the platinized spotlight. Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir documents every aspect of Mustaine's life with sincerity and realism, severity and sarcasm. Discussing the motivation behind an autobiographical tome, Mustaine further enlightens Exclaim! on the realities of committing one's life to the written word, the state of modern music, media's responsibility in propelling the infamous Megadeth/Metallica feud and his own future post-novel.
What inspired writing your memoirs at this point? Just having an interesting life, I guess.
How heavy of an undertaking is it to hunker down as a prose writer when you're revered as a musician first and foremost? To go from writing music to books is different. It's a lot easier to get away with saying, "baby, baby" in a song than it is putting together an eloquent paragraph. It's very difficult, so there was lot of painstaking editing once the whole story was down so that everything was accurate first off, and read right second. There were a lot of other things legally we had to look at because there were a lot of people in my life that, if I tell the story, they're going to jail.
Or getting pissed off? It's not about getting pissed off. They're going to jail. Nowadays when you tell a story... say there was a dude I had an encounter with [but] we don't know each other anymore. I [relate] the story and all of a sudden, someone goes sniffing into that person's life. It's an invasion of privacy so there's that and there's the fact that there are ambulance chasers everywhere. We live in a very litigious system in America. It's terrible and it's even worse in the UK. That's why the UK book is even different from the American book. It's the same but just a little bit different as to how things are worded.
Just wanting to talk about your own life, you end up opening all these cans of worms. You really had to be careful to dot each i and cross every t, huh? Yeah. It's very bizarre ― for lack of a better word ― trying to figure out how to tell a story two different ways and keep it the same story. When you see somebody who's an attorney working somebody in the witness chair, they need to ask the right questions to get the right information out. That's basically what happened. We had to word it in a way that the information got out but still told the same story. Legally, the same thing being said one way is totally malicious another way. That's something I had to learn.
I can appreciate that. Misquoting can breed some pretty nasty feedback. More journalists should be more responsible for what they do. Going back to writing's lowest common denominator, they would give scribes information to document or hypothecate about fantasy and stuff like that. There really never was somebody who just disseminated filth and lies when real journalism was at is most romantic. Now, you can go anywhere and read anything that's just as disgusting and offensive as you can possibly imagine but people get away with saying it. When you go into character assassination with people, well, I was just over in Europe with Lars [Ulrich, Metallica], Kerry [King, Slayer] and Scott [Ian, Anthrax] doing a roundtable at the Big Four [concerts]. Lars said, "It's your guys' fault this feud keeps going on because there's the relationship we have and the relationship you guys think we have and tell everybody we have... but we don't have." We haven't fought for years, haven't argued for years and have been friends since we first met. You can be friends with people and still have disagreements or arguments. I think the exclamation point behind the sentence, "There is no fucking feud!" came from when we played the Big Four dates overseas.
So it was journalists feeding the sensationalism of the Megadeth/Metallica war? Yes but it's ok. I'm forgiving. I can forgive and it's cool but it's time for it to stop. It's been resolved for a long time.