The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

MUSTAINE – A Heavy Metal Memoir Review

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It’s fair to say that I love Megadeth and have since I first heard them (Peace Sells album).  Mustaine is a riffmaster.  Period.  I will also say that the entire Marty Friedman era bores me senseless, including Rust In Peace.  While I can stomach that album a little better now, I detested it at its release and everything else Marty played on…and I like some of Marty’s other stuff.  Dragon’s Kiss is awesome! But back to the book and Dave.

Dave’s demeanor over the years is stuff of legend and he was kicked out of Metallica for good reason, even if done shittily (I made that word up).  Cripes, they were all kids, who knew how to fire someone properly?  I know I was let go from my first band shittily as well.

We’ve all heard how and why he was kicked out of Metallica and all knew that there has always been a lifelong jealousy over their success.  I can’t say that I’d feel any differently if it had happened to me.  Dave’s childhood is laid out in the book and it gives a good background about his personality and temperament.  His yearning to be better than Metallica is what drives him.  I’ll be the first to say that Dave won the battle.

A little background history on my personal Metallica v. Megadeth showdown.  I remember hearing Kill ’em All when it came out and hated it.  I hadn’t heard thrash before and it didn’t set well to my ears.  I was into metal but this was different.  It wasn’t until I had heard Ride The Lightning that I became a Metallica fan.  I adore that album and have since first laying ears on it.  Then Master of Puppets came out.  It was a letdown for me.  While there are some great songs on there, there’s plenty that, in my opinion, were sending them down the commercial road and by the time And Just For All came out, I was done with Metallica.  I still despise that album and can’t listen to anything from that release or subsequent albums at all.  Blech!

It was summer of 86 when I first heard Megadeth (click link to read about it).  I was hooked.  I immediately went back and bought Killing Is My Business and loved it.  Dave could write riffs, especially when doped up.  So Far So Good…So What! came out and while it was a little less sinister than the 2 previous albums, it had some good stuff on it.  Then, as noted above, the Marty era happened.  I was out.  It really wasn’t until The System Has Failed album came out that I became interested again.  I’ve loved every album since.

I guess I should get back in to the book review, eh?  It’s cool to read how certain members came in and out of the band, especially how Jay Reynolds of Malice was in the band until it came time to record SFSGSW and he couldn’t do the solos.  I never knew he was part of it or that Jeff Young was his guitar tech.  Malice seemed competent enough but I guess Dave knew what he was looking for.

Overall, I’ve always respected Mustaine.  Sure he’s a brash loudmouth and he will always be jealous of Metallica.  But from my point of view, I say that Dave won the battle.  No, he will never have the commercial success that his former bandmates have garnered, but he’s put out a helluva lot better albums than they have.  Dave’s twice the guitarist that Kirk or Hetfield are (although Hetfield has a helluva a riffing hand).  Dave should be able to rest easily knowing that, but he won’t.

His drug use was a bit of a surprise.  Yes, I knew about his heroin addiction even back in 86 when I saw the Peace Sells tour.  I had always assumed that he was a needle jockey but the book details that it was snorting and smoking heroin that was his preference and that he had needled up less than 10 times.  Not quite the same for Poland and Samuelson (RIP).  It’s also interesting about his friendship with Ellefson.  Band friendships can be tricky as anyone who’s spent time in a band can tell you, especially after breakups/firings/etc.  Money becomes a big factor as well.

It’s interesting reading about Dave’s acceptance of Christ in his life.  I like that he’s so open about it in the book, never one to shy away from controversy, eh?  Pretty cool.  I’m happy that he’s found some peace and that it seems to really be working for him.

Dave had a co-writer on this book, but you can tell that this is primarily Dave’s words in Dave’s language.  The co-writer likely just helped Dave string stuff out a little more coherently.  I highly recommend the book, even if you’re only a minor fan of Megadeth.  I was hoping for some stories about some of the bands they had toured with like Overkill and Sanctuary, but neither are mentioned.  Doro is mentioned briefly and it’s pretty interesting.  I was also hoping Dave would mention his brief relationship with Dawn Crosby (RIP) of Detente.  No luck.

I’ll share a story about Dave that I haven’t shared too often and it was something that made me respect him even more.  In 2006, Megadeth was in town for Gigantour 2 and there was a Bands (Team Rock) v. Crews (Team Roll) softball game earlier that afternoon.  To get into the game you had to bring some groceries for the local food bank.  I took off work that day and showed up early with an armload of groceries.  unfortunately only about 10 people

Dave Mustaine

Copyright Ragefoto 2006

showed up for the game.  It wasn’t really promoted well at all.  It was fun though.  After the game, the bands came out to sign some stuff.  Unfortunately Overkill wasn’t at the game that day.  When I got to meet Dave, I had him sign The Book and got to talk to him for a few minutes one on one.  He was cool, very gracious.  I asked him if he remembered playing at The Boathouse (Norfolk, VA – RIP) and his eyes lit up and he said, “Fuck yes I remember that place!  What a dump!”  I told him to look over the left field wall to see what was left of it.  “Holy shit!  I didn’t realize we were that close to that shit hole!”  Pretty funny.  I shook his hand, thanked him for his time and his music over the years and let the next guy have some time.

This is where the story gets interesting.  The next guy was this diminutive black guy.  I sort of knew him as he worked at the Walgreens by my apartment and knew that he was a HUGE metalhead.  Saw him at shows for many years.  I only mentioned his race as it relates to the story.  When he was talking to Mustaine, he asked him to sign his Megadeth ball cap on the visor.  Dave asked him his name and the guy replied with, “Sweet!  I’m Jake (can’t remember his real name).  Can you write ‘To my Heavy Metal Nigger’ on it?”

Dave instantly tensed up and pulled the guy aside from the few of us hanging around to talk to him privately.  I could overhear Dave’s conversation.  Now, Jake was an older dude, definitely older than me and likely older than Dave, but Dave was in charge here and let him know.  “I will not write that on your hat or on anything.  I’m really glad that you came out here to support but that word is not something that I want to be associated with, understand?”  Jake nodded and said it was cool and that the word didn’t bother him but understood.  Dave wrote something else in the hat, they shook hands and parted ways.  Dave came back by all of us, thanked us for coming and headed off.  It was very cool.

Long live Megadeth and I hope they continue to put out quality album like the last 3.

***Addendum (8/19/10):  One thing that the book didn’t really touch on was Dave’s thoughts about Gar’s death.  I really would have loved some insight as to how Dave felt about it when it happened.

Written by The Metal Files

August 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

One Response

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  1. Nice review, Sean. I’ve asked for this book from my wife as an anniversary gift; methinks I made a good choice. I’m not a huge Megadeth fan (as you’re well aware), but I certainly do respect the strides Dave and his bandmates have made.

    Bob Mercer

    September 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm


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