The December 2009 issue of Guitar World magazine (featuring Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell on the cover) includes an interview with Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. Excerpts from the discourse follow below.
Guitar World: You've stated that Chris Broderick is the best guitarist you've had in Megadeth. Taking into account the caliber of the guys who have come before him, that's no small compliment.
Mustaine: There's a difference between a great guitar player and having that little extra something, that flair. And Chris has it. I've been saying that he reminds me of Randy [Rhoads], because finding Chris makes me feel like I know what Ozzy [Osbourne] must have felt like when he discovered Randy. So we get along great. You know, people have heard me say that I "sang" solos to [former guitarist] Marty [Friedman] in the studio, and I did. I did it to [former guitarists] Jeff [Young], Chris [Poland] and Al [Pitrelli], too. But Chris Broderick? I only did it two times, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of notes on [Megadeth's new album] "Endgame." Now that it a testimony to a guy who has studied his partner.
Guitar World: Do you ever talk to any of the former members? In particular, do you have a relationship with Dave Ellefson [former Megadeth bassist], with whom you had a pretty public falling out after almost 20 years of playing together?
Mustaine: You know, Dave sued me for 18-and-a-half million dollars and he lost. That had to have hurt. And the fans — a lot of them turned on him. That had to have hurt. He lost one of his oldest friends. That had to have hurt. There probably were a lot of changes, financial and otherwise, he had to make in his life after Megadeth. That had to have hurt, too. And I'm not the kind of guy to sit back and watch that happen to somebody who, at one point, I loved. So I met with Dave a while ago and we had dinner, and he said, "You know, [suing you] was the stupidest thing I've ever done. I wish I never did it." So I forgave him. Bottom line for me is there's this one little thing I'll always be curious about: I just keep thinking, if he had won the lawsuit, what would he have done? Would he have taken 18-and-a-half million dollars from me? Or would he have just said, "You know what? I was just trying to prove a point. Let's get back together and you behave yourself."
Guitar World: Do you think he wants to be back in Megadeth?
Mustaine: I don't know. I think a person would be nuts not to want to be with me. I have a successful enterprise here. The band is better now than we've ever been. And I think our success right now is probably more obvious than it's ever been.
Guitar World: Does it surprise you that you're still standing?
Mustaine: Yes, but here's the thing that I love — the way the story is coming to a climax. Retirement is looming, and I'm actually okay with it. It's a lot different when you surrender the baton as opposed to having someone take it out of your hand. And I'm ready to pass the baton because there are so many guitar players that are better than me right now, and there have been all along. I think there's a new generation out there that needs to have its shot.
Guitar World: When you say "retirement is looming" — just how close is it?
Mustaine: I've got one more record on my contract. Then I'm done.
Guitar World: What will you do after that?
Mustaine: I'll probably move off into the private sector. I have a studio going [Vic's Garage, in San Marcos, California] that I'm handling with my son, and we're trying to do a little "metal academy"-type thing there. Just something cool to give back to the community, because, man, I'm so overpaid and underworked. I have to give something back.
Guitar World: When that day comes, will you leave feeling you accomplished everything you set out to do?
Mustaine: I feel that way right now. So I very much could walk away. And I'm actually leaning more toward leaving than staying because of my own pride and concern for wanting to go out on top. It's important for me to do the right thing, and I think it would be great, if I was going to stop, to do it on the right level. Especially in this business, because people are always clamoring for more and more. But like I said, it's time for me to start getting into some philanthropy.
The December 2009 issue of Guitar World magazine is available on newsstands now.
In other Mustaine news, the singer will call his upcoming autobiography, "Hello Me... Meet The Real Me." The book tentatively scheduled for late next year.
It was co-written by New York Times journalist Joe Layden who also wrote "The Last Great Fight," which takes readers behind the scenes of what is considered by many to be the biggest upset in the history of boxing: James "Buster" Douglas' tenth-round knockout win over Mike Tyson in 1990.
During an appearance on Friday's (September 25th) edition of "The Alex Jones Show," Mustaine stated about his autobiography, "It's called 'Hello Me... Meet The Real Me', which is a lyric from the [Megadeth song] 'Sweating Bullets' [from the 1992 album 'Countdown To Extinction']. It had to called that; you know that."
He added, "It's basically me the person; it's not just me a musician. Because [other people have] written everything that could be written about me as a musician from their point of view. And some of it's true, some of it's not, some of it's folklore, some of it makes me a lot cooler than I really am, so I just let them continue to think that way. [laughs]
"With the book itself, when I got to the last page and I closed the book, I looked up... I actually was so satiated, I was so content that they finally have got my life into a book so far and that... I read it and I went, 'You know what?! I get it. This is it. This is who I am. It explains everything perfectly.' And the best part about it, I think, is that at the end of every chapter... It's like, God, [I] did a lot of really rotten things, but at the end of every chapter, it tells how all those things have been made amends for, if possible, and the people that we had all these hardships with, we've gone back and worked on things. Some people were in the band that I'm friends with still; some people were in the band in the past and I'm not friends with them."