He’s found Christianity, charity and Periscope: and Dave Mustaine is just about ready to put out a new Megadeth album as well.
One the eve of the band’s show in Dublin, Lorcan Archer got some time with the man himself.
So what was he gagging to ask this real metal icon and rock hero to millions?
Well we thought we’d have a laugh about Metalireland users’ puns about his house of course. And he loved them!
Ride Across The River
LA: Hi Dave, thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with MI today ahead of the gig tonight. I understand you’ve been in Dublin for a few days now.
DM: That’s right.
LA: How having you been finding the city?
DM: It’s been wonderful. You know I think pretty much any American you run into has got Irish roots, so I try not to bring that up too much when I am here. But, there’s just something that does make me feel good when I am here.
Chris Adler (Lamb of God, currently drumming for Megadeth) is pretty much pure-blooded German, but me, I’m half German, half French / Irish.
I don’t know what resonates with him, but when we got into town, we went right across the river, to the Ha’penny Inn just across the bridge.
We just decided to have a beer and a sandwich, and the bar-tender had taken a shine to us, and he suggested we go upstairs, where someone was playing these old Dublin ballads. And it just felt so good, just to be here.
I know every country has its ups and down. Every country has its warts as well as its beautiful aspects too, but after spending so much time travelling…it felt good.
This latest tour (China, Japan, Australia, India, Russia, Ireland and UK) has involved a lot of travel. There’s been not too many dates, there’s been a lot of travelling from one side of a country to the other side of a country, and zig-zagging and stuff like that.
And it’s been pretty hard on us. We’ve had some issues with some gear, stuff involving censorship, and other travelling issues – but the show goes on. We always put the music and the fans ahead of our well-being. Whether it’s playing really late or whatever.
In fact, our equipment was impounded at the customs office in Bangalore, in India. They said “Oh, well your concert curfew was at 10pm”. They were supposed to release our gear at 1.30 that day. Well, it didn’t end up happening until 8.30pm that night.
So our Tour Manager, Rick, as well as our Production Manager Dennis White, had said – “Well, what do you want to do Dave?” And I said “I want to play. I want to play for these kids.”
There’s a low class and there’s a high class in India, there’s no middle class. So all our fans, have big hearts, a big love for metal, and this might be the only opportunity that they have to have some joy in their lives that day.
So I’m not gonna sit in my 5 Star Hotel and say, “Well, here I am with my first world problems, with our gear having been impounded.”
I want them to know that I was homeless, that I was a beggar, that I grew up really hard, and that I’m grateful for them. You know, like two beggars sharing a crust of bread – I’ve always had that mentality.
Our music – there’s a cost, charge, a fee, a price – but I do it really because I love it and I love making fans happy.
Dave Mustaine – Social Animal
LA: Likewise, you’re back here to perform tonight for your Irish fans, people who’ll be spending their money and their time to see Megadeth.
But you have a real relationship with your fans, and I can tell that from the likes of your Periscope videos, which I’ve been following.
You’re a great user of that platform. You’re active on social media – on Twitter – on Periscope. Do you find it a nice way to connect with fans while you’re on tour?
DM: Well it helps in a lot of ways, you know. I think in our society, there’s a lot of bullying going on. A lot of kids look up to artists who basically don’t enrich their lives at all. They basically say, you know what, I’m great, and you’re not, but hey – buy my record.
For me, I’ve always tried to do an outreach programme, so to speak. We had our coffee company in California, we set that up for some orphans down in Mexico.
By the grace of God, our fans have provided us with the funds to set up a soup kitchen in Tijuana, and one in Haiti. And we make between three to eight thousands meals a day in Haiti. So that helps me, throughout the course of the day, to feel good about what I do.
And the other thing about social networking is you see a lot of people come in (on Twitter), and just try to be hard-asses, and try to make fun of me. And I (I think, in a very polite way) can deal with them, and I think that encourages other kids to deal with bullying.
LA: You seem open on Twitter, but if someone does come in and slags or insults you, it’s like water off a duck’s back – you just say, alright – next one, let’s go. I guess that’s because there might be someone worthwhile waiting to interact with you?
DM: Yeah – well it’s pretty easy for someone to say stuff about my Mom, or stuff about my playing, and it just shows a lack of self-respect amongst the people saying that. One guy said his guitar teacher said I’m terrible.
And I just said, you know between 50 million Megadeth records sold around the world, and 40 million records with Metallica being sold around the world…I said I’m sorry you feel that way, but personally I just think that’s bullshit.
LA: Speaking of records, obviously we’ll have a new Megadeth record shortly, with ‘Dystopia’ coming in. I’ve been actually able to listen to an advance stream this weekend.
DM: The whole thing, eh?
LA: Yep, a few times. I enjoyed it, it’s definitely got a real snarl and aggression about it. And I’m guessing we’ll hear a track from that tonight?
DM: Yes, we’ll be playing ‘Fatal Illusion’. They have a campaign underway. On the 27th of this month, we’re going to break out ‘The Threat is Real’, when we won’t be on tour, so once we got back out, we’ll start playing that then.
LA: It’s funny you should choose ‘Fatal Illusion’, it was a track that really stood out and impacted on my first listen. I especially liked the lyrics – could you tell me a little about the concept?
DM: Sure, it’s kind of crosses back and forth between reality and fiction. There’s a bit of my own story in there, being a product of a broken family, and not really having many options, and getting involved with things that I shouldn’t, and in trouble with the authorities.
Now the outcome for the subject of the song, he was sentenced to death – which is a bit extreme – but it works with the song. This person’s life didn’t mean anything and I think that’s increasingly the case around the world – human life doesn’t mean much anything more.
In his case, no-one even checked that he was dead. And he wakes up on the way to the morgue, and that’s where he begins to exact his revenge. He goes back, and all those people who didn’t give him a chance, or the time of day, well, its payback time.
LA: It’s definitely got a really aggressive, ‘revenge’ vibe to it.
DM: Yeah, very much so – a lot like ‘Reckoning Day’.
A Chemistry Lesson
LA: You’ll be performing that tonight, and you’ll be doing so with Chris Adler on drums with you. Of course, Lamb of God are playing too, so he’ll be doing double duty.
Have you guys now got a complete chemistry and flow playing together? I believe it’s the first time Irish fans will see you perform together.
DM: Well, Lamb of God and Megadeth had toured together many years ago – we did Gigantour together. And I got to know Chris and really liked him. I had no idea how much he looked up to me, and to Megadeth. And especially with Gar (Samuelson), he was very impressed by Gar’s playing.
So, we became incredibly close, in a short period of time.
There is no drummer, other than Gar, that I’ve gotten that close to. Honestly! There was Chuck (Behler), there was Nick (Menza), there was Jimmy DeGrasso, there was Vinnie Colaiuta, there was Shawn Drover – and they’re all talented, but in terms of being close with someone, and really enjoying being in their company, and calling someone up and saying ‘Hey, where are you? Wanna do something?” That’s where we’re at right now.
You know, I don’t want to cause Lamb of God any problems, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to continue to do this. But – if a time comes when we won’t be able to continue doing this – I’m extremely grateful for his contributions.
LA: It seems like a really good, positive relationship that you have.
DM: Oh it is. And he’s funny! You know I went to some concert, to go some new-wave kind of guy, in Nashville where we live, and the songs they were playing, you know they’re probably on the radio, but to me they just sounded awful. Really noisy, feedback-y kind of stuff. And that was part of the style of the songs.
So I wrote to Chris, and I was like, “Yeah, I’m here with Electra, for her birthday, at this concert and it’s just horrible.” And he just replied “Yeah, suck it up buttercup”. And I was like, “Ha! Are you signing that buttercup or are you calling me buttercup?”
So we just hit it off, and when I showed my wife, and Electra, my daughter, what he’d wrote, they said “I like him!” I honestly prefer a guy who will be honest with you and who will josh with you, instead of being a puss, and saying stuff about you behind your back.
Dave’s House – THOSE puns!
LA: You mention that was in Nashville, in Tennessee, where of course you’ve relocated to. How long have you been there?
DM: A little over a year, but I’ve lived there four times before, because we did records there. So I’ve lived there for several months at a time. We still have our estate in California, but it’s up for sale and I want Electra to pursue her dreams. I can do my job anywhere really.
LA: It’s a beautiful home that you have there in California.
DM: Oh, you’ve seen it online?
LA: Oh yeah, I’ve seen the pictures. And in fact, well, you’ve been in Ireland a few days now, and you know we do like to think we have a bit of a sense of humour, regardless of the situation. So someone on the Metal Ireland forum posted these images on the forum, and people took it upon themselves to suggest some real Megadeth titles for the property images.
LA: So I’ve taken the liberty of collecting some of the best ones. *hands over photos*
DM: Holy crap, you’ve actually put together puns for each one. That’s hilarious! Oh my God, you’re just nuts. Haha, Swimphony of Destruction…can I keep these?
LA: You absolutely can. I have to ask you, which one you think is the best?
DM: Oh, it’s Cattle-Head. That’s probably the best one….although I love Terrain of Consequences! Hahaha. Loo-cretia… these are great.
LA: So the place is still up sale?
DM: Yeah, it is. Property like that, it’s hidden, it’s a bit off the beaten path, and we’re not in a hurry to sell it. We want the right buyer too. We’re obviously still quite attached to it. When we got it, it was abandoned, so we’ve completely restored it from the ground up. I mean, it has a vineyard on it, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
LA: I noticed it has a slightly British, slightly ‘Across the Pond’ sort of feel to it.
DM: Yes it does. It has a sort of “Lord of the Rings”…well actually no, more like “The Hobbit” feel to it, with the thatched roof and everything.
LA: Still though – Nashville. What better place to be, as a musician, set up and doing your thing?
DM: Well it’s good for me, because my daughter is happy, and I think, if you love your children, you’ll always want to protect and provide for them. And like I said, I can pretty much do my job anywhere.
LA: Our time’s up – thanks Dave!
DM: Hey, no problem man.
–Interview by Lorcan Archer ::: 15/11/15