Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine was the final guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. The thrash legends are set to release their long-awaited new album, The sick, the dying… and the dead! on September 2 and many hurdles were overcome along the way, one of them being the need to find a replacement for bassist David Ellefson, which Mustaine says was difficult as he didn’t want to actively poach anyone. one in another group.
While recording in the studio, Testament bassist Steve DiGiorgio was tasked with recording new bass parts after Ellefson’s was rejected, but ultimately Megadeth welcomed James LoMenzo into the live band. last year and made him an official member earlier in 2022. His previous tenure with the group was from 2006 to 2010.
At the time the interview was conducted, Megadeth had only released one new single, “We’ll Be Back” and Mustaine expressed his appreciation for the positive response to the scorching track. He also touched on appearances by Ice-T and Sammy Hagar and more.
Read the full interview below.
Response to the first new single, “We’ll Be Back”, has been overwhelmingly positive. Acceptance isn’t all about creativity, but what’s rewarding when people like and enjoy your music?
There are all kinds of things that make you feel good. At the end of the day, when you’re playing songs, one of the rewarding things is that people even stop to notice. When you think about the whole process of creating music, you take a person taking an object and making sounds come out of it — you produce a sound that is compelling enough for someone to stop and listen. If you’re lucky, it’s appealing enough to them that they want to listen to it and not just hear it. It’s important when people start listening to what you say and how you play.
I remember the very first time I wrote a riff that I knew was going to be a big riff – it was the riff from “Jump In the Fire” [which would later appear on Metallica’s debut album] when I was in a small band before joining Panic. It shows you how old this song is and I just knew that riff was going to be something.
Now, I get this feeling right away if I play a riff and I think, “Oh, that’s a really good sounding part.” I don’t immediately think it’s a riff that’s going to be a chorus or a verse or something, but I can hear part of it and say, “Yeah, that sounds like Megadeth. That sounds like the first Megadeths. That sounds like old Megadeth. Sounds like new Megadeth…” Anyway, there’s just a freshness to different eras in the way the music came out.
Megadeth, “We’ll Be Back” Music Video
What fuels your musical aggression now versus what turned you on when you were younger?
Many of the same things feed me these days. Being a young man when I started, the things that mattered to me still matter to me and I haven’t really changed my outlook on that.
I certainly changed with the rising sun, so the way I fit into the storyline of things changed. Obviously rebellion is a young man’s game is the famous quote. I tend to like to rebel a bit, but I think that means when you get a little older and a little more successful, you tend to feel like a fraud when you have a Mercedes in your driveway and you paint symbols of anarchy. It’s just a bit of hypocrisy, I guess.
The music video for “We’ll Be Back” is the first chapter of a short trilogy that sheds light on the origin story of Megadeth mascot Vic Rattlehead. Why did you decide to finally give an origin to the character?
When we started talking about the movie at the beginning of [making] the record was just a seed, an idea among people with some knowledge of music and our mascot – two very, very talented people from South America who I’ve worked with in the past. I grew to be really, really proud of the work we did.
One of the things we’ve done in the past was with “Conquer or Die”, the prequel to Ddystopia, was directed by the team of producers and directors who made “We’ll Be Back” – Leonardo Liberti and Rafael Pensado. They worked with me a bit in the past and I had the chance to work a bit more currently on this new version. According to the story, this is just the start of a few installments for fans to get to know Vic and everything associated with him.
Steve DiGiorgio stepped in to record bass on the album, followed by James Lomenzo who joined the band permanently. What do you appreciate most about them both musically and as people?
Both are really fun people to be around. Even though I didn’t know Steve DiGiorgio, as much as I know James, LoMenzo, I found him as pleasant to be around as James. This period that the band and everyone associated with us has been through has been a bit tricky. We wanted to do the right thing. Trying to find a replacement for anyone was the wrong thing to do at the time because no one really knew all the facts and we certainly didn’t want to poach anyone. Testament are my friends.
As great as Steve is, I remember what it was like when we [Metallica] rode up and poached Cliff [Burton] of Trauma. Admittedly, the Trauma band wasn’t that good, there were still some guys in the band and their lives changed when that happened. You have to ask yourself, “Did he jump or was he pushed?” I wanted to make sure that if I was going to hire someone, I wasn’t stealing them from anyone.
Sammy Hagar and Ice-T might seem like unlikely bedfellows for Megadeth. How do their respective talents enrich this new record?
We did a cover of one of Sammy’s songs. A lot of people didn’t know Sammy before he spent his time at Van Halen. I have known him since he played at Montrose and after that in his solo career. I was never really sold on the Van Halen tracks because I had heard Sammy sing about Montrose and that man can sing – oh my God. He was one of my favorite singers forever and ever.
“I Got the Fire” is one of my favorite Montrose songs. It’s such a heavy song – even Iron Maiden covered it. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to do Sammy’s ‘This Planet’s on Fire’?” I reached out to him and asked him, “Would you mind singing on it and maybe laying down some guitars?” So he came back and said, “Sure, I’ll sing on it. I don’t play guitar because I heard you two shredders and you leave it as it is.”
I was really flattered because I think Sammy is a great guitar player.
The thing with Ice-T is based on our friendship. We worked on each other’s stuff and the last thing we did together was [the Body Count song] “Civil war.” I don’t know if it was my turn to get a favor or hers, but we’ve grown closer as friends over the years and this is a great opportunity to use what I think he is excellent. Besides the fact that he had experience in the military, the way he attracted attention was perfect for the role.
Unfortunately this guy [heard in the sample at the end of the song] of Full Metal Jacket is no longer with us. These kinds of personalities are also somewhat predictive. It’s kind of like the guy from the Twisted Sister video, but I thought the Ice-T thing was just right for the part.
Megadeth, “Night Stalkers” (ft. Ice-T) Music Video
I can’t wait to learn more about the record and I can’t wait to see you this summer on tour with Five Finger Death Punch!
You will be. I can’t wait to see you too. I’m so happy with the response for the first single and everyone is watching it on YouTube. It’s just breathtaking. We passed 1 million views in the shortest time we’ve ever seen a video rack up those kind of numbers. Thanks for everything you’ve done. It’s going to be a great, great tour and we’re going to have so much fun.
Thanks to Dave Mustaine for the interview. Get your copy of Megadeth’s new album “The Sick, The Dying…And The Dead!” (released September 2) here and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.
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