Megadeth front-man/speed metal stalwart Dave Mustaine is clearly doing well when he poke fun at his band members and it isn't construed as something nasty. Typically revered/reviled for his straightforward attitude, his words are constantly scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb as detractors search for any sort of gossip they can get their hands on.
However, as Megadeth prepares to unleash 12th studio effort Endgame next month, he displays a different sort of confidence, not just in his own abilities, but in those of his mates: guitarist Chris Broderick, drummer Shawn Drover and bassist James LoMenzo.
With their talent and assistance, Mustaine feels a renewed vigour in the Megadeth camp. Of course, it doesn't hurt that with searing solos, an aggressive pace and some wicked chops, Endgame is one of the quartet's finest outings in almost a decade.
"I think a lot of [Endgame's strength] comes from that the band is really getting along right now," Mustaine tells Exclaim!, noting that the group's essence was actually solidifying a few years ago.
"The chemistry is really working," he continues. "[It] started when Shawn joined the band. [Brother/guitarist] Glen Drover was a temporary member that did us a real solid. He brought in Shawn and he recommended Chris. Where he was 25 years ago when I started the band, I don't know. Ah, he would've been about ten back then."
Regardless, it wasn't until LoMenzo found his way through the likes of David Lee Roth, Black Label Society and White Lion to join Megadeth in 2006 that Mustaine truly felt the line-up forged into a powerhouse capable of creating something as awe-inspiring as Endgame.
"James is becoming a favourite with fans as you can tell by the increasing number of fans on his side of the stage that happen to be of the female persuasion," Mustaine jokes. "I suppose that would have done him a lot better 25 years ago, but oh well. I don't give a fuck."
Endgame is due out via Roadrunner Records on September 15.