MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine spoke to Australian Associated Press about his attempt to reunite the band’s classic “Rust In Peace” lineup, featuring Nick Menza on drums and Marty Friedman on guitar, following last year’s departures of Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick.
“It’s no secret that the whole ‘Rust In Peace’ reunion lineup thing was being attempted,” he said. “I didn’t want that to happen. I know when something’s good and when something’s beyond its usefulness to us because the horse is dead.”
He continued: “In no way is this meant to be offensive to Shawn or Chris, but we’ve definitely upgraded talent-wise, personality-wise, friendship-wise.”
Mustaine also shot down the widely held belief that MEGADETH is a dictatorship, explaining that his goal at the end of the day is just to be a good leader.
“A lot of people think that the way we do things is always my way but it’s not,” he said. “Sometimes I’ve chosen the right way, sometimes the way that I’ve chosen was not the right way. Basically, treat people the way you want to be treated … If you’re a good leader and you love your people, they’ll do it.”
MEGADETH’s current lineup includes Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, best known for his work with ANGRA, and LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler.
Menza claimed in a recent interview that the attempted reunion of the “Rust In Peace” lineup failed to materialize because Mustaine “didn’t wanna show me any love at all.”
The drummer said that he was approached by Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson to replace Drover last year, and that he had started working out new tracks with the band. But the plan collapsed after he was offered a contract he described as “very unfair.”
Speaking to Canadian journalist Mitch Lafon, Nick said: “I tried to make it happen by all my means and efforts, I tried to make it go down, but they just didn’t wanna show me any love at all, is really what it boils down. You know, I don’t need to do this. I wanted to.”
He went on to say: “We should have done an album this time. I was ready. I was out there recording with Dave, new songs, and we played a bunch of old songs for a weekend in San Diego, and then no agreement was put on the table for me — nothing in writing. I’m, like, ‘Dude, I’m not coming back until you give me a contract and some kind of agreement here.’ And they wouldn’t produce that. So… If you don’t wanna split the profits with me on the tour, forget it. I’ve got other stuff I can do that’s more exciting to me.”
Ellefson said that fans should not blame Mustaine for a reunion of the “Rust In Peace” lineup. He said: “Dave, again, was as open as he could have ever been to having a reunion and trying to make it work. And, if anything, I was the ‘bad cop’ of that. I let Dave be the ‘good cop’ for a change. As partners, I thought, ‘He always gets the bad rap. I’ll be the guy, kind of, stirring the waters, and I’ll let him be the good guy.’ And we gave it every possible opportunity for it to work, and it just really… Dave and I walked out of that meeting, ‘Yeah, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.’ And we just really had to be honest with ourselves and preserve the name MEGADETH.”
The bassist also talked about the session he and Mustaine had with Menza, where they played some music. “It’s like, we had a lot of laughs and it was fun, but I think Dave and I felt right away that musically… We weren’t convinced that it was the next chapter of MEGADETH,” he said. “And to go back and just do a cash grab, it would be short-lived, and I think our fans… Again, the transparency of the metal fans… They would know right away.”
In an interview with RollingStone.com, Mustaine talked in general terms about why the reunion of MEGADETH’s classic “Rust In Peace” lineup didn’t happen, He said: “Contrary to all the scuttlebutt that’s going around, I wish [Nick and guitarist Marty Friedman] the best,” Mustaine said. “But their recollections of the events that led up to it and happened after are considerably different from my recollection. But here’s the thing — a lot of people, they either love or hate me. If I tell anybody what happened, it’s not gonna change the way they feel about me. But it’ll probably change the way they feel about them. And I don’t want to hurt anybody. All I can say I think they’re both tremendous musicians and talented guys.”
MEGADETH’s fifteenth studio album, “Dystopia”, will be released on January 22, 2016. The follow-up to 2013’s “Super Collider” was recorded earlier in the year in Nashville, Tennessee and was mixed by Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with LAMB OF GOD, ALL THAT REMAINS and GOJIRA.