Author/journalist Joel McIver recently interviewed MEGADETH's Dave Mustaine, who is promoting the new “Warchest” box set, for Record Collector magazine. Excerpts from the chat follow:
Q: How pivotal was the 1990 Clash Of The Titans tour for MEGADETH's career?
Mustaine: “Very. I look back with great fondness at that tour, even though there were some differences of opinion between the bands, and some conflicts of personality. I look back on it as a tremendous success. I'm friends with Chuck Billy [TESTAMENT], I see him all the time. I'm not really friends with the guys in SLAYER, but we're cordial. And I see Scott Ian [ANTHRAX] all the time. Unfortunately, with what happened to ALICE IN CHAINS [i.e. Layne Staley's death] I don't see all of them, but I saw Jerry Cantrell recently. I just saw Mike Muir of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES too, and he's looking as intimidating as ever!”
Q: Will we ever see a UK Gigantour?
Mustaine: “It would be my pleasure to do something like that. I dream of taking Gigantour internationally. I feel a kinship towards the UK and I want to do everything that we do with our fans over there properly, so if we were going to do something like that we'd have to make sure we took our time and did it with the right bands in the right places with the right ticket prices. Sometimes you have to lose money in order to be conscientious of the ticket prices the fans are paying, so I've got to be able to take that risk too if we're going to keep the spirit of Gigantour alive. People like the idea of Gigantour – it sounds like a good, fun metal tour, not like the Blackened Testicles tour or something.”
Q: Do you think you're a good guitar player?
Mustaine: “Yeah, I think I'm good. I enjoy playing how I'm playing right now: I like setting the guitar down when I'm done playing the song, and then looking at someone else and going, let's see you do that! Even though there's hundreds and thousands of players who are better than I am, it's fun to me to push the limitations of my playing.”
Q: You're 46. Does that make you an old guy?
Mustaine: “Yeah, I think I'm old. I don't look old, and I don't play like I'm old, and I'm in really good shape right now – but there are mornings when I wake up and it feels like someone's sucked oil out of my hinges, ha ha! I just creak back and forth until I get motion flowing inside me. But I think that's just an occupational hazard: this job is so strenuous on your skeletal system and your respiratory system that most people would be dead. I stay fit, though – I still work out, go to the gym and do cardio stuff – and then, of course, there's the obligatory two hours of metal calisthenics every night.”
Q: How long can you keep your musical career going?
Mustaine: “Oh, I'll know when it's time to stop. I thought it was time to stop before, when my arm got hurt. I honestly thought I'd lost the fire, but then I thought, 'I think I'll do this a little bit more, because there's something left unfulfilled inside me.'”
Q: Is your best work behind you or ahead of you?
Mustaine: “I think it's ahead of me. I don't know that the next record I write's going to be any good, or if there's gonna be one, or if it's gonna be with Roadrunner, or what's gonna happen. There will be another offering of music from me, but whether it's going to be another MEGADETH record or me going off on my solo career… because all my commitments are fulfilled with MEGADETH. I love playing with the Drovers [guitarist Glen Drover and drummer Shawn Drover] and with James Lomenzo [bass], and I could see this going for a long time, because those guys are very functional. Even though there's the typical boy stuff that goes on, there's a tremendous respect for one another and a tremendous respect for our families, which makes touring very clean and respectful for everybody.”
The interview will appear in Record Collector's November 22 issue. See http://www.joelmciver.co.uk/ for more information.