Dave Mustaine is a metal icon. His Musical genius and guitar mastery has kept MEGADETH going for more than 30 years. Mustaine was also a founding member of the band METALLICA. When the DYSTOPIA world tour launches September 20, the lineup will include AMON AMARTH, BUTCHER BABIES, METAL CHURCH, and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. I spoke with Dave as he was gearing up for the tour. We spoke about life on the road, beer, bands, and music.
Dave, Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. How are things going?
“Hey, just driving over to our storage facility to pack up all our gear on the trucks for the tour. Just making sure we have everything we need. It’s fun. It’s what I live for. I've got a great job.”
Your tour lineup is chock full of amazing bands. How do you gather and choose these acts?
“Contrary to all the mud slingers out there. People that tour with us know they are going to have a great time. The list is as long as my arm of people that have toured with us and have gone on to bigger success. Stone Temple Pilots, Pantera, Korn, White Zombie. Our audience is a real friendly and open minded when it comes to new bands. Alice In Chains was another band. It’s a very difficult business. Not everyone gets the opportunities that they should. And when someone like me says, I’m not hiring you because you sell tickets; I’m hiring you because you sound good. That is cool stuff. I look at talent that we want to take out on the road as something that I would want to hear. Because we will be out on the road and I have to listen to them night after night. I want to be able to enjoy myself just as much as you do. During that whole period a couple of years ago when no one was doing guitar solos, we had a couple of bands go out with us and I despised them. And the reason they went out with us was because the label said you need to do this. That was the worst part of my career during that whole nu-metal thing. You know there were no solos because the guitar players weren’t good enough to do solos.”
That was a dark time
Your Line up also includes the double female fronted band, THE BUTCHER BABIES. How did you come across them?
“We had another opening on the tour and I watched a couple of songs. I thought oh my god that is provocative and there are a lot of young men out there that will be very happy that Dave picked these young ladies to tour. It reminded me of WENDY O WILLIAMS (PLASMATICS), because our first drummer had dated Wendy when we were on tour with them. It was MOTORHEAD, WENDY O WILLIAMS, and MEGADETH. Looking back, it was really cool that our drummer had dated her. The BUTCHER BABIES remind me of her.”
I have interviewed them before, and they are totally professional and honest people.
“I actually, when I saw the videos. The thing I liked about them. You know a lot of those screaming singers. A lot gets washed up with the background. But I found that there was an element of actual singing going along with the screaming. That made it interesting.”
The lyrics for DYSTOPIA are darker is this because they are a reflection of the times? As Bob Dylan says “The times they are a changin?
“Definitely a reflection of the time we are living in right now. Looking at society and every day it's on the news, someone is stabbed, shot or blowing up a cop or a school. When I was growing up there was honor amongst the people that fought. You would never think of shooting into a hospital or a school. Now they do that with no remorse. I think about combat as a martial artist and you would touch gloves before you fight. Now they don't do that. So much animosity out there. We are swimming in an era of just hate. I try to stay upbeat and positive. My twitter feed is unusually upbeat. I think that is because I do not immediately respond. Some of our international fans might not communicate the same way we do so before you fly off the handle you have to take that into account.”
How do you feel about the increased presence of social media?
“Well social media and the internet and downloading can be used to your advantage. A lot of people could do that but a lot of people don’t. Take the approach like Lars (METALLICA) did and go up to Capitol Hill and sue people that are downloading songs. Rewind the page in twenty years and we might have been on the receiving end of a lawsuit because we were all tape traders. Although at that time it was about the music. You had pen pals and you would trade tapes. Now you have instant contact across the globe.
I remember one person put one of our earlier albums streaming on the internet for free downloading. He wasn’t even a fan. His sole intent was to hurt us financially.”
You just recently celebrated your 55th birthday, congrats and you also have a new beer line coming out. How did that come about?
“Thank you. Well the birthday was my parents business. And the beer. We met this cat in Quebec and he was a big fan of ours and he launched a beer line. We named the beer after “a tout le monde”. The song is one of the biggest metal songs of all time. My family is from Canada originally. I have always had a good relationship with the people of Canada and so we had a chance to talk to the Jerry. He came to a huge outdoor event we were doing. It was Kiko’s first show. So his audition was to play for 80,000 people in Quebec City. Which is a good way to see if the guys you are playing with are actually worth their salt. So anyway the beer guy showed up early, we did some sampling and it was good. I like to drink beer. We have our own winery that we started.”
What is next for MEGADEATH and DAVE MUSTAINE?
“We are actually working feverishly with the hard drives to catalog all the song ideas we have. To start working on separating them into new parts and so forth and so forth. We have a crazy opportunity of a project that I am working on. We have a lot of songs for that I am working on. I cannot give you more details but as soon as I can, I will. Start to record with these guys. Got festivals in Asia and Europe coming up. God willing we will finally get down to South Africa next year.”