In life, we all have 'sliding doors' moments, those occasions where we make choices which fundamentally alter the course of our lives, and perhaps the lives of others too. Who knows what opportunities may have slipped through our fingers due to simple fate, through no fault of our own.
With that said, there are moments too where, perhaps later in life, we might come to realise that - bluntly put - we fucked up. A moment where, for example, one might consider that, with hindsight, and on reflection, snorting heroin before embarking upon a first date with a beautiful pop star you've had a crush on for years might not have been the smartest idea ever.
We've rather telegraphed the story here with that headline, so let's waste no more time.
It's mid 1988, and Megadeth are in Los Angeles' Music Grinder studio putting the finishing touches to their third studio album, So Far, So Good... So What. Dave Mustaine's band, to be fair, were not in the best shape at the time. Guitarist Chris Poland had bailed, drummer Gar Samuelson had been fired, and Mustaine and his faithful lieutenant David Ellefson were too immersed in heroin addiction to know for sure, or possibly even to care, whether new recruits Jeff Young (guitar) and Chuck Behler (drums) were the right men to step into these key vacancies at this crucial time for their band.
Still, as uncertain and volatile as Megadeth's future may have looked at the time, in the summer of 1988, Dave Mustaine had a special date on the horizon, specifically, as he recalled in his 2010 autobiography, Mustaine: A Life In Metal, an "honest-to-goodness" date with Belinda Carlisle, formerly the lead singer with LA rock band The Go-Go's, now a world-famous pop star, thanks to the huge success of her 1987 single Heaven Is A Place On Earth, which had topped the charts in the UK, the US, and a host of other 'territories.
The pair had never met, but Mustaine had long harboured a huge crush on the "gorgeous" singer, who was, at the time, single and apparently intrigued by what she'd heard about Megadeth's leader. "I have no idea if she was a fan of Megadeth or of heavy metal in general," Mustaine admitted in his memoir. "I know only that through an intermediary I was to meet her."
Such was Carlisle's excitement at this prospect that she decided to pop into Music Grinder to introduce herself to the metal musician. Unfortunately, and crucially, as Mustaine noted in his book, "her timing could have been better."
"Moments before she arrived, I had finished snorting a balloon of heroin," he wrote. "As she knocked at the door, I chucked the empty balloon behind a dresser, and lit up a joint."
Mustaine elaborated on what happened next in a 2019 interview with NME.
"I’m thinking: ‘Oh fuck, how do I get the smoke out of my lungs without her smelling it?" he recalled. "Because there’s no way you can say ‘It’s a cigarette, hun’. So I exhaled and my breath smells like a skunk’s ass, and she turned on her heels and walked out of my life forever. It was sad because there’s no telling what would have happened!"
"I haven’t seen her in some time and I doubt she even remembers now," Mustaine added, somewhat poignantly.
Carlisle made no mention of this doomed romance in her own autobiography, Lips Unsealed, which might perhaps suggest that Mustaine wasn't wrong. But who can truly say?
"We could have been so good together... We could have lived this dance forever" (George Michael, Careless Whisper, 1984)