MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was interviewed for a recent episode of “That Metal Show” co-host Eddie Trunk’s podcast, “Eddie Trunk Podcast”. You can now listen to it at this location. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On why drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick left MEGADETH on the same day in November 2014:
Mustaine: “Well, they were unhappy. David Ellefson [MEGADETH bassist] has come out and shared that it was his idea to do the ‘Rust In Peace’ reunion [with guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza], because when it didn’t happen, people were bashing me pretty hard on the ‘Net. And Dave said, ‘Wait a minute! Mustaine’s been totally open-minded and supportive to this whole thing. And don’t bash him because it didn’t work out. It was my idea.’ And I thanked him for that. I thought it was really great that he stood up for me. But what happened was when Chris and Shawn were in the band, David had shared with them that the fans want the ‘Rust In Peace’ lineup. And if you were in the band and someone tells you something like that, if you’re anything like me, you’d probably say, ‘Well, screw you!’ And we had some management at the time we were really, really not happy with; it was really not working for us. And there was a person there who had told Shawn and Chris after… It was during the middle of 2014 that we needed to come off the road for a year because IRON MAIDEN wanted us to be their support band for August, September and October of  before Bruce [Dickinson, IRON MAIDEN singer] had contracted… or they diagnosed him with cancer. And when that happened, all bets were off. And we understood. I’m glad that he’s healthy now. I would rather he was healthy and there was MEGADETH / IRON MAIDEN dates than him being unhealthy and there was the dates. I would never want anything to happen to him. So I digress. Back to the thing with Shawn and Chris. They were told, ‘You need to go find something to do for a year.’ And they evidently had had enough. And I found out about [them leaving] the same way you did; it was through the press. And, you know, I think that all MEGADETH fans should give those guys the courtesy of listening to their [new] music [with ACT OF DEFIANCE] and see if they like it or not. I’m not gonna say that it’s good or bad, ‘cause I haven’t heard it. But, you know, I totally get why they left. I would probably have too, if someone would have said, ‘You go find something to do for a year. And by the way, people want somebody else besides you being here.'”
On how close the “Rust In Peace” lineup reunion came to becoming a reality:
Mustaine: “Well, we had… If you remember, my mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s and she had gone missing. So we were out at my house in California. And while we were there… ‘Cause I live in Tennessee now, and we still have the house in San Diego. So we went out there to go look for her. And David Ellefson had picked up Nick Menza and brought him down from L.A. down to San Diego. And we started playing, and we did ‘Rattlehead’. And we didn’t get through the first chorus, and the song got messed up, so we stopped. We started again, it got messed up, we stopped. We started again, it got messed up, we stopped. I put my guitar down and I walked out of the studio. ‘Cause I didn’t wanna say anything mean to Nick. And David Ellefson came up to me and he goes, ‘Man, this is a lot worse than I thought it was.’ I had talked to Chris Adler [LAMB OF GOD drummer] about him playing on the new MEGADETH record. ‘Cause I said, even if we do a reunion tour with these guys [Menza and Friedman], when we make a new record, we wanted to have someone who was just a monster on drums; we wanted [Chris Adler] to play [on it]. And when we did the rehearsal thing [with Menza] that didn’t pan out, it was, like, ‘Man, I’m worried.’ So we were at the NAMM show, and we [Mustaine, Ellefson, Friedman and Menza] met there. And the guy that was managing us at the time had said something at dinner. We all had a band dinner with this guy. And he said something that really pissed Marty off really bad. And it was so obvious that it wasn’t meant to be. It’s like trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic; the boat’s going down [and] there’s no sense doing it. I think it’s better off that the fans just hold on to that wonderful memory of the four of us playing together and the music that we made than trying to do something that, obviously, there’s a lot of history and a lot of scars and a lot of tension and stuff like that. ‘Cause if you remember how everything ended, Marty had a nervous breakdown and wanted to play more J-Pop. And when we were doing ‘Risk’, he said that we needed to go even more alternative than that record was. And I said, ‘No.’ We needed to go back to our roots. And Nick had injured his arm, so his playing ability had been challenged. Now, do I still love those guys? Of course I do. They are my friends and brothers from the band’s alumni. Now, do we all get along? Well, you know, what day is it?”
On whether Nick’s playing was simply not up to par during his rehearsal with Mustaine and Ellefson:
Mustaine: “Don’t get me wrong. Nick is a good player, but ‘Rattlehead’ is straight-forward all the way through the song, and the beats would get mixed up [when we tried rehearsing it with him]. As well as, he had said that I make him nervous and that he wasn’t feeling well and this and that and the other thing. And it just wasn’t meant to me. I think that Nick has got the talent and the capability to play whatever he wants, and if he does form a band, it’ll be great. But it just wasn’t happening. Maybe it was just that day. But it wasn’t happening.”
On whether MEGADETH held any rehearsals with Friedman while attempting a reunion of the “Rust In Peace” lineup:
Mustaine: “No, we didn’t play with Marty. Marty had sent some e-mails saying, ‘Oh, man, you know, the fans have this self-inflated importance of ‘Rust In Peace’ beyond what it really is. And I was, like, ‘Huh?’ So I didn’t know if that was a backhand to the face of the fans or not, but he had basically said that if we were gonna do anything, it had to be better than ‘Rust In Peace’. And he sent me over some links to some songs that he thought should be the direction that we were going in, and one of it was this J-Pop band with some Japanese girl singing, and I was, like, ‘Uh-uh. This ain’t gonna work.’ More power to [Marty for being into that stuff]. Do what you want, Marty. He’s a great guitar player. But I’m not gonna sing like a Japanese girl.”
MEGADETH’s new album, “Dystopia”, debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200, having shifted 49,000 equivalent album units in the week ending January 28.
In terms of pure album sales, “Dystopia” opened with 48,000 copies, marking MEGADETH’s highest-charting album since 1992’s “Countdown To Extinction” debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the chart dated August 1 of that year. “Dystopia” also logs the group’s best sales week since 2007, when “United Abominations” landed at No. 8 with first-week sales of 54,000.
The rest of the MEGADETH lineup is comprised of new member Kiko Loureiro (of ANGRA), David Ellefson on bass, and drummer Chris Adler, who took time away from LAMB OF GOD to record “Dystopia”.