On November 9, Ireland’s Overdrive conducted an interview with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine prior to the band’s concert in Dublin. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Overdrive: Firstly, let’s talk about [the new MEGADETH album] “Dystopia”. It’s almost like you went though a sort of cleansing on this album, with lineup changes etc. The end result is outstanding and reminiscent of a more classic-sounding MEGADETH, but with a fresh edge. What was the approach to “Dystopia” in terms of sound, composition and concept?
Dave: Well, to be honest, there was a lot of upheaval in our camp over the last couple of years, with management changes, bad touring decisions made by our management, and the loss of my mother-in-law and the whole “Rust In Peace” reunion [attempt]. David Ellefson [MEGADETH bassist] was a total gentleman and stood up [in a recent interview] and said, “Look, this wasn’t [Mustaine‘s] idea to do this reunion. It was my idea.” Because my take on it was that I really didn’t want anything to do with it. As far as I was concerned, it’s done and let’s just leave it where it’s at. Dave really wanted to do the “Rust In Peace” thing and I love Dave, he’s my partner, so I figured, “We’ll see what happens.” When it didn’t happen, of course, everybody blamed me and I was just politely saying, “Go fuck yourself.” When Kiko [Loureiro, guitar] and Chris [Adler, drums] came into the picture, it was a breath of fresh air, because they are, without a doubt, two of the most talented musicians that I have ever played with. To have musicians of that caliber playing at the same time is a formidable force. Any of the previous lineups always had at least one member that was not up to standard. For example, say the guitarist is great and the drummer is okay, or the drummer is great and the guitarist is okay, but to have totally changed and to have both positions filled with excellent musicians really helped to raise not only the morale of the band but also the professionalism and the ability for us all as musicians. To be honest, I think that my guitar playing has improved because of Kiko pushing me.
Overdrive: “Dystopia” is a major step up in terms of sound and musical arrangement and is on another level in terms of technicality. There are moments on “Dystopia” that are just mindblowing when you consider some of the breakdowns and solos. Was this a conscious decision when you all began recording together?
Dave: Well, check this out. All four of us had never played together in the same room until we started rehearsing for this tour. Those songs were being written [and] recorded with some of us being in different locations at different times. When Chris was done, Kiko then recorded his parts, while Dave [Ellefson] was actually the first one to record. We were working with Chris, but Dave was the one who had the keeper tracks from those sessions. I was telling someone this the other day of just how excited I am about getting out there and playing the live shows, because we have only played one show in Canada, four shows in Australia and India and two in Russia. That’s less than a dozen shows with this lineup. So think about this: take away that they were shows and think about rehearsing like other bands do. We never got to play and rehearse together before those shows. A band that has only jammed a few times together and on the first show with all of us together was in front of eighty thousand people in Quebec! Talk about a baptism of fire.
Overdrive: Were you not shitting yourself with anxiety during those shows?
Dave: Yeah, I was a little concerned for the boys, but I knew that I was going to have a good time and was ready to carry a heavy load if need be, because that’s my job as a frontman. The other thing is, they are so professional and great at their jobs and most importantly, they have charisma. Also, being in this particular music genre, let alone being in this band, you have to be able to carry it.
Read the entire interview at Overdrive.