Dave Mustaine Q&A: “When I think of Megadeth I think of blood and sweat”

A close-up of Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine (Image credit: Getty)

Given Dave Mustaine’s struggles with substances over the years, Megadeth aren’t the first people you’d associate with booze. But after successfully launching their own wine a couple of years ago, they’ve followed up it with a signature beer. Brewed by award-winning Canadian brewery Unibrou, A Tout Le Monde is described as as a “Belgian-style saison ale”. We spoke to MegaDave about the ongoing relationship between beer and metal.

Whose idea was it to launch a signature Megadeth beer?

“Well can I just say that, after doing a wine a few years back, this is not a natural progression. I’m not going to be taking up making drugs next. But it’s a fun venture. After the wine was such a success, I actually remember saying to myself that when it’s hot I don’t usually find myself reaching for a glass of wine. I’d rather have a nice cold beer. So I looked into it from various different breweries, which wasn’t easy.”

What were the problems?

“Well we went to the place that did Maiden’s Trooper beer, which I very much like but I wanted something that was less spicy than that. So that was a no go. We had a company that told me they couldn’t keep up with the orders that we were asking for, and another place told me they didn’t like my politics. Which I just thought… what a wanker! You go to a bar with your buddies and you talk sport, you talk about chicks, you talk music and you talk politics. The beer goes hand in hand with that. So we found this company in Quebec when we played this festival in front of 80,000 people and this guy brought me some samples and I loved it. I don’t know every single beer in the world but I’m getting a more educated palate. So, as we went on he would send more samples and one day he said ‘I think I’ve got it’ and I just loved it.”

How exactly do you sum up what Megadeth are about in a beer?

“Well, when I think of Megadeth I think of blood and sweat. I don’t really think of beer. And also this project stretches back to when we didn’t have the current line-up, so it was really just my own personal thing. It could have just been Mustaine beer, but I thought that Megadeth is such a strong brand with such a strong fan-base that we should have that logo and Vic [Rattlehead] on the bottle. It really makes it stand out. I think the design is beautiful.”

More and more bands are launching their own beers and wines. Is that a financial thing to make up for the fact that albums aren’t selling like they used to?

“Well, we’ve been really fortunate with our live performances. We’ve just finished a tour of the States and we ended with 10,000 people watching us. And so many of them reached out to tell us how blown away they were by our performance. Even if we didn’t have a great record behind us we’d still have that live show. So many bands of our era rely on their catalogue, fortunately for us Dystopia is one of our highest charting records. So the drop in sales is happening to everybody, but we are riding it out fine I think.”

It’s strange that an ex-alcoholic has his own range of beer. What’s your relationship with booze like these days?

“Well there are three types of drinker, there is a drinker who can say ‘no’, there is a heavy drinker that can get out of control but ultimately stop, and there is a drinker that cannot stop themselves. I was a heavy drinker, no doubt, but I had a life-changing moment. I had a problem and I addressed it. Now if I have a glass of wine or two I can stop. Does me having a couple of beers lead me to getting some coke and some hookers and getting arrested? No. My life is better than it has ever been right now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My problem was hard drugs, and I don’t do that anymore. I’m not part of that group any more. We survived that.”

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Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.