Full Metal Jackie conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine at the Dean booth during this year’s NAMM show, which was held January 22-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. A few excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he views lineup changes in MEGADETH as an exciting opportunity to have new people add their unique talent to the band or it’s more disruptive than anything else:
Mustaine: “Well, it depends if they they really have talent and they come in or if they’re a utility player. We’ve had a couple of situations [in] the past, where the ‘Rust In Peace’ lineup broke up, Jimmy DeGrasso [drums] came in. Jimmy was a great player; we never really congealed, though. Same with Al Pitrelli [guitar]. I love both those guys as people, and I have so much respect for them as players, but for some reason, we never really could get that equilibrium between all of us.
“When you’re playing in a band together, that’s as close as you’ll ever get to another person without having sex with them. I mean, you can’t get any closer to a bandmember. After that, [we had] James Lomenzo, James MacDonough, Glen Drover, Shawn Drover, Chris Broderick… all those guys… the fans don’t want those guys in MEGADETH.”
On his plans to record new music:
Mustaine: “I’m going in the studio March 2 no matter what. And the songs that we have right now, we talked to the label, and I said, ‘I’m not making another radio song ever.’ ‘Cause that’s what record companies want. And I think that was the bane of MEGADETH‘s existence. When ‘Countdown [To Extinction]’ came out, we had so many radio songs… From ‘Countdown’ to ‘Youthanasia’ to ‘Cryptic [Writings]’ to ‘Risk’ and going down and down and down, it was more radio, radio, radio… You know, I love all those songs, but it’s not really what MEGADETH fans wanna hear; they wanna hear stuff like ‘The Conjuring’, like ‘Set The World Afire’, like ‘Devil’s Island’, stuff like ‘Holy Wars’, stuff like ‘Take No Prisoners’… And I get it — I wrote those songs, [and] I can do that in my sleep — but when you’re having someone else say, ‘This is what you have to do,’ either you listen or you don’t.”
“The most exciting part right now is that I’ve been cataloging songs my whole career, and I had stuff from microcassettes to cassette tapes… I mean, I didn’t have any 8-tracks, but I had everything possible that you could put any kind of medium of music on, including handwritten tablature. It took me three years to archive all this stuff.”
On whether MEGADETH is largely a Dave Mustaine solo project as opposed to a real band:
Mustaine: “In MEGADETH, I think that my heart feels it’s unfair to discredit the other guys that I’m playing with, because it is really a team effort, although I carry a lot of the weight. It’s like a quarterback — I touch the ball on every play. Like a pitcher, I touch the ball on every play. But I do recognize that people know I’m the leader. Now some leaders can… they’re like in the animal kingdom… the head’s in the front and the asshole’s in the back. But I think we’re more like a living organism. Not so much as amoeba, but we all work together. It’s, like, a car has four tires. And the reason that guys have been asked to leave or quit was because they decided they were gonna turn one direction and the other three wheels are going in a different direction.”
On the songwriting process for his next studio album:
Mustaine: “I think because there’s so much music that… I mean, there’s music that I have saved from back around ‘Peace Sells’ era, ‘So Far, So Good’ era, stuff that I listen to it and I’m thinking, ‘How the f*ck did I play that?’ So I have to put it into a machine and listen and slow it down and scoop out all the noise in the background so I can hear what I was doing, ’cause it’s mindblowing riffing. That is what is exciting for me right now.
“When [bassist] David Ellefson did the last record, on ‘Super Collider’, the bass playing was really… He had said that he really had a lot of playing and stuff like that. And a lot of people don’t like that record, because there’s so many radio-type songs on it, and I think a lot of that has to do with the producer that you’re working with.”
Only hours after Shawn Drover announced his exit from MEGADETH on November 25, 2014 to “to pursue [his] own musical interests,” Broderick revealed he also quit the legendary metal band, saying that he was leaving the group “due to artistic and musical differences.”
Broderick joined MEGADETH in late 2007 as the replacement for Glen Drover, who left the group in order to focus on family life.
Shawn joined MEGADETH in 2004 as the replacement for Nick Menza, who had only just rejoined the group. Drover performed on four MEGADETH studio records: 2007’s “United Abominations”, 2009’s “Endgame”, 2011’s “TH1RT3EN” and 2013’s “Super Collider”.