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Megadeth Concert Review, Austin, TX December 11, 2013…and David Ellefson!

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This is a 2 part writeup as I got to meet David Ellefson, aka Jr., on December 10 at his book signing here in Austin.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Megadeth fan, and honestly I’m more into the first 3 albums than anything else seenusethey’ve done since.  Some of the albums in the 2000s have been pretty good but they last 2 have left me flat.  It is what it is.  Last night marked the 9th time I’ve seen them since 1987 on the Peace Sells Tour.  That show is still one of the best I have ever seen.

If you’ve been paying attention you’d know that I had just seen them with Iron Maiden in Raleigh and Austin back in September.

A couple of days ago I had seen an announcement that Ellefson was going to do an interview and book signing in town and I figured it was a perfect time to finally meet him and to get his book and mine signed.  I arrived a few minutes early, picked up my copy of his book and hung out with my good pal Victor that was there.  I had met Mustaine in 2006 and had him sign my book back then.  They had announced that we could get one piece of memorabilia signed along with Ellefson’s book.  Perfect.  Victor didn’t bring anything besides the Ellefson book and got my CD cover for Peace Sells signed for me.

Ellefson spoke for about 45 minutes during a chat with Raoul Hernandez from the Austin Chronicle.  It was a good chat and he spoke a lot about his faith and being clean and sober since 1990.  He wasn’t preachy about it at all.  During the Q&A I had asked him if if his and Mustaine’s religious beliefs keep them from playing some of the darker songs like The Conjuring.  He stated that Mustaine won’t play The Conjuring again because of the history he has with that song and some stuff that had apparently happened when he was toying with black magic back in the day.  Pity.  It’s a great song!  There were about 30 people there and he signed everyone’s book, a few guitars, CD covers and of course, my book.  He was very affable and kept answering questions while signing stuff.  That was that.

I originally wasn’t going to see last night’s show but decided that since I do love to watch Mustaine play it would be worth for the general admission ticket price.  Plus it was at the Moody Theater.  I love that place!  Day of the show my friend Rodney sends a message to ask if I wanted to meet up before the show for a drink and of course the answer is yes.  Rodney rules.  We both get to the venue around 6ish and both stated we didn’t care about the opening bands.  He told me that his friend was Megadeth’s merch manager and we met him by the buses.  This guy was the nicest.  He invited us on one of Megadeth’s buses and out friend Angela hopped on with us.  It was cool hearing the business side of the touring from Mical.  The lighting and sound guys were hanging out and were all fun to jibber jabber with.  We then go grab some food and a few margaritas then head back to the venue.  We get “worker” passes handed to us and walked in the the backstage area.  It was pretty cool back there.  Drover and Broderick passed through as we were sitting around waiting for Fear Factory to finish.  Right before Megadeth went on, we went to the merch booth and got hooked up on some shirts and stuff and then we were walked to the soundboard area and that was our spot next to ‘Deth’s soundguy for the whole show.

They played the same set that they had been doing for this leg of the tour which for me doesn’t include enough old stuff, but again, I love was Dave play guitar.  They scratched their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat due to venue curfews and that was fine with me.  I was really hoping that they were going to add Rattlehead for last night’s show as Ellefson said at the book signing that they’ve been working on it lately.  That would have been cool.

After the set, Brad the soundguy gives me his copy of the setlist with his notes on it.  Good addition to my collection.  We went backstage after socializing with some friends and got to speak to Broderick for a moment.  Mical got us a few guitar picks from the guitar techs.  One of the guys, Fred, is from Pittsburgh and we talked about the yinzers a little bit.  That guy was awesome and obviously would be fun to tour with.    Then Willie G, Mustaine’s tech, came up and commented on Rodney’s OZ shirt.  Willie is pretty legendary in guitar tech circles.  I met him years ago with Shadows Fall.  Mical told Willie that Rodney used to sing for Devastation and Willie says, “Texas Devastation?  IDOLATRYYYYYY!”  Rodney was floored.  As we were just wrapping up our night with Mical, Mustaine and his entourage walk by and I said, “Good show, Dave.  Find a house here yet?”  He turns to me and says, “Thanks, man!  Still looking!” and they walked out.

What a great night and am very appreciative of the impromptu VIP treatment that we got.


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

Megadeth/Testament/Exodus Concert Review (sort of…)

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I’ll post the full review tomorrow.  But for now…

Dave Mustaine is one of the greatest metal guitarists ever.


Written by The Metal Files

March 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Megadeth – Endgame (2009) – CD Review

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I like Megadeth…really, I love Megadeth.  But I’m no fanboy.  I really stopped listening to them when Countdown To MegadethEndgameExtinction came out.  I even had a little trouble listening to Rust In Peace, but it’s pretty tolerable now.  I’ll also be at the front of the line to say that I prefer Megadeth’s first 3 albums over Metallica’s.  Dave is a riffmaster and I am sure there are a lot of good songs on the albums between Countdown and The World Needs a Hero, but I just can’t care.

Those first 2 are simply incredible.  The perfect combination of power, sweet riffage, great solos, drumming and heroin.  Even So Far So Good has some really high points.

But they whimped out after Rust In Peace.  Other than Friendman’s Dragon’s Kiss album, his playing never did much for me, so I stayed away from his era of ‘Deth.

Then The System Has Failed came out with Chris Poland back in the ban for the album!  I had to hear it…Loved it!  His trademark sound was all over the album.  I got to see Gigantour and finally got to meet Dave.  It was a memorable experience.  That guy is pretty smart and a phenomenal guitarist.   I also like United Abominations a lot.

So here we are in 2009.  Another Megadeth album.  Endgame.  I’m impressed.  Dave has always hired good guitarists and Chris Broderick (Jag Panzer) is a worthy member.  He’s got some great solos on Endgame as does Dave.  It’s pretty easy to tell who is who.  Dave’s style is pretty unique.  I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves as a guitarist, especially as a soloist.

Endgame is pretty good all the way through.  The opening track is an instrumental and it does remind me of Set The World Afire in a few spots, but it doesn’t detract from the great solos.  I’ve listened to this about 6 times now and I think my least favorite track is Bite The Hand.  I was a little nervous when I heard about the ballad, but it’s not bad at all.  My favorite tracks would be This Day We Fight, The Hardest Part of Letting Go, Endgame and 44 Minutes.  Shawn Drover and James Lomenzo do a great job of holding down the rhythm.

Now I do have a few criticisms.  Dave’s vocals have never been great by any stretch of the imagination.  He’s certainly lost a step in his vocals over the last 2 albums.  It’s natural really.  He’s no spring chicken these days.  They’re not bad, but he sounds a little weaker.  That guy used to have one of the greatest wails in metal!  I’ll also make a small complaint about the lyrics.   Sure, metal has always had a bit of silliness and Megadeth sliced their share of the cheese.  But it doesn’t really detract from the record.  The record is good.  Really good.  Very rarely do I buy albums on their release day, but for modern era Megadeth, I make the exception.

Nice work, Dave.  8.5/10.

Sorry, no free download here.  Go buy it, slacker. is streaming it for free right now as well.