The 50 greatest Dave Mustaine quotes ever

(Image credit: Jeremy Saffer)

With his speak-now-worry-about-it-later approach, Dave Mustaine is one of metal’s most greatest motormouths. Here are 50 of the Megadeth mainman’s greatest quotes, as taken from the pages of Metal Hammer and beyond.

‘I told David Ellefson, ‘In this business you have to eat shit, smile and ask for more.’ Not everyone can accept that.”
Dave on… the music industry

“I was out for blood. Theirs.”
Dave on… having no love for Metallica after his dismissal       

“When you’re young and you have fire in your belly, you’re willing to go to any lengths to make it work. And I was fired up.”
Dave on… going hell for leather to make the debut a success     

“Dave Ellefson was a complete, white-bread pussy from Jackson, Minnesota, and he developed into a bass player that people really respected, but then we both got sucked into the drugs thing.”
Dave on… finding kindred spirits   

“I got to the studio one day and Jay told me the others had spent $4,000 on coke, heroin and hamburgers.”
Dave on… Megadeth’s first manager Jay Jones breaking some bad news       

“I had stuck my flag in the ground and from then on we were going out with all guns blazing.”
Dave on… making an early impact with Killing Is My Business…   

“I was smitten with Belinda Carlisle. She came to the studio and I’d just snorted some heroin and taken a big hit of a joint. She was apparently really anti-drugs.” Dave on… missed opportunities

 “I wrote, ‘Peace sells, but who’s buying?’ and I thought, ‘Oh my God, what did I just say?’ It was an important song and an important moment.”
Dave on… nailing the zeitgeist

“As sad as it is, heavy metal thrives when the world is at a low point.”
Dave on… finding the good in the bad

(Image credit: Future)

“I’m still interested in the occult. Just because I believe in God, it doesn’t mean that Satan and the dark side isn’t real.”
Dave on… seeing both sides

“If you get involved in witchcraft, there are consequences. If you can afford the risk then, by all means, follow your heart.”
Dave on… making magic

“I had years and years of work... Filippino priests laying hands on me and exorcisms with Indian gurus and shamans.”
Dave on… breaking magic

“It’s great to hear the next generation including me in their influences.”
Dave on… being a trailblazer   

 “How do you make it? Don’t have a Plan B!”
Dave on… reaching your goals

“These new bands, these spoilt motherfuckers whose parents are attorneys or doctors, and they take every penny they’ve got and invest it in their productions, so they’ve got the big screens and the explosions and the dancing girls and the inflatables and the fucking ego ramps. They don’t know what paying their fucking dues is.”
Dave on… supporting the next generation    

“If you hear a song on acoustic, you can tell if it’s a good melody because nothing is hiding it.”
Dave on… the art of songcraft


(Image credit: Future)

“When you look at the price of a ticket these days, the economy isn’t great, especially for young people. They come out of university and end up waiting tables. So I wanna give my absolute best to the audience. It comes down to being passionate about this stuff.” Dave on… appreciating his fans

“Growing up poor, I know what it’s like to have to work hard for your money.” Dave on… getting that bread

“Obviously, Americans who go to Ireland and have a bit of red hair, they try to act like they’re Irish! But I didn’t realise at all what I was saying.”
Dave on… dedicating a gig to “the cause” in Northern Ireland in 1988. Oop

“Driving in California is so fucked up – you basically need a crash helmet to get into your car.”
Dave on… road rage

“I’m thinking, ‘For a kid that was getting lunch tickets at school and had people make fun of him because his pants were too short because he had to wear hand-me-down clothes, you’ve arrived.’”
Dave on… what he feels when he looks at his big-ass house

“I’ve voted Democrat and Republican, and I’ve abstained… so if anyone’s saying they know how I’m gonna vote, they got their heads up their cooters.”
Dave on… being politically pigeonholed

“I don’t even like to be called a Christian. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I don’t wanna push that on anybody.”
Dave on… being religiously pigeonholed

(Image credit: Future)

“The reason there have been so many line-up changes is because you get somebody into the situation and all of a sudden they forget what the main ingredient is – and the main ingredient is my songwriting.”
Dave on… Megadeth’s occasionally fluid member policy

“The easiest thing to say about Dave Mustaine is that he’s loaded, he’s drunk, he’s an alcoholic or he’s mean or whatever.”
Dave on… his reputation preceding him

“It bugs me when people say I’m mean. It’s like, ‘You haven’t got a clue!’ The reputation is still in circulation, but it’s never been right.”
Dave on… being misunderstood

“I’d be kidding myself if I said I’d never thought, ‘I wouldn’t want to have to follow us,’ because there’s been some times when we’ve been opening for other bands and it didn’t work out so well for them.…”
Dave on… blowing headliners off stage

“It’s a really great feeling to be able to come to all these major cities around the world – Tokyo, New York, London, Moscow, these places that get thrown around like you’re James Bond.”
Dave on… the perks of touring

“I won’t forget what was said and who said it. I’m not gonna do anything about it, but I won’t forget!”
Dave on… reactions to Megadeth nearly pulling out of a 2011 Big 4 show

“We were all kissing cousins and swapping Christmas cards again.”
Dave on… the Big 4 being buds again

(Image credit: Future)

“Part of me would’ve liked that success. The little boy inside me that wants to be famous, the boy that sits with his guitar in the mirror.”
Dave on… whether he would have liked to have had a Black Album of his own

“There are no more rock stars. You know what you got? You got a lot of snot-nosed kids that work at music magazines. No offence…”
Dave on… 21st century rock’n’roll

“I was lost at that time, as everybody was. The music business had imploded.”
Dave on… surviving the turbulent late 90s

“When you haven’t done it for a while and then you do it again, it’s like walking across a bridge over a low river of shit and you’ve fallen off the bridge.”
Dave on… falling back into bad drug habits

“It will always perplex me that a guy at the height of his powers wanted to go and do pop music with a Japanese chick!”
Dave on… Marty Friedman’s career choices

“I basically hate all NFL teams now because they all have long hair and that’s stupid.”
Dave on… the problems with modern sport 

“I can listen to my first records drunk or sober. I’m proud of all that stuff.”
Dave on… sticking by Megadeth’s early material

“Luck to me is not having faith. I totally have faith in where I’m going right now.”
Dave on… leaving nothing to chance

(Image credit: Future)

“They should chop her uterus out! Not really, but it sounded like something I’d say, right?” Dave on… playing up to the stereotype

“What was my life without music? It defined me. Creatively, spiritually, emotionally and – quite literally – music had fed me. It had kept me alive.”
Dave on… the arm injury that almost ending his guitar-playing

“Being a forefather is cool, I guess, but it doesn’t sit well with me because I’m used to being part of the pack.”
Dave on… being a team player

“I can’t think of any new bands that I like. I just don’t like the screaming.” Dave on… keeping it classic

“I thought, ‘Am I afraid?’ And then I said, ‘No, I’m fucking pissed.’” Dave on… being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019

“There have been days when I’ve woken up and thought, ‘Do I matter? Am I still relevant?’ You listen to all the bands that have come and gone over the years, and you think, ‘Wow, has that happened to us?’” Dave on… Megadeth’s place in the scheme of things

“I don’t want my worth, my esteem and my value to come from being in a band.” Dave on… what really matters in life

Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.