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Former Metallica bassist mocks Dave Mustaine's "alpha male" claim

Dave Mustaine red carpet shot
(Image credit: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images)

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's recent claim that he was the "alpha male" in Metallica during his time with the band has been greeted with derision by former bassist Ron McGovney.  

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Dave Mustaine was asked about his 2011 autobiography Mustaine A Heavy Metal Memoir, where he'd written that he was Metallica's leader during his time with the band.

Asked by writer Paul Elliott if he stood by the statement, given that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich were such obvious alpha males themselves, Mustaine doubled down.

"I am clearly the alpha male between the three of us," he said. "Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me talk to the promoters and collect the cash? Why was I the one who had to do the fighting? Why did I have to talk in between songs?"

Mustaine went on to say, "I must remind you that when I joined Metallica, James did not play guitar. He just picked it up and started playing when I was in the band."

Now former Metallica bassist Ron McGovney has responded to Revolver's reporting of the story (opens in new tab), with a tweet that pours scorn on Mustaine's claim.

"Dave talked to the promoters?" asked McGovney. "Collected the cash? James didn’t play guitar before Metallica? That’s not how I remember those days. Just the opposite actually."

McGovney was Metallica's bassist before being replaced by Cliff Burton, and was present during the notorious pit-bill terrier incident that led to Mustaine's departure from the band. 

“Dave brought them round to my house and they were jumping all over my car,” McGovney told Shockwaves. “James came out and said, ‘Hey Dave, get those fucking dogs off Ron’s car!’ Then they start fighting, and I see Dave punch James in the mouth and he flies across the room, so I jump on Dave’s back and he flipped me onto a coffee table."

Mustaine was fired the following day.

Late last month, Megadeth performed three songs – Holy Wars, Symphony Of Destruction and We'll Be Back (the latter lifted from new album The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!) – on SiriusXM's Trunk Nation L.A. Invasion with Eddie Trunk. It's now available to view on YouTube.

Megadeth's The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead! is out now.

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Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.