Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth after being fired from Metallica in 1983. Twelve albums later the fiery guitarist/vocalist remains among metal’s most fascinating characters. Classic Rock meets Mustaine in the aftermath of him having broken a story – told to him by Anthrax’s Scott Ian – claiming that Metallica had planned to sack drummer Lars
Do you now regret breaking the story about Metallica’s alleged plan to fire Lars, given that Scott Ian quickly issued a denial?
No. It was something Scott told me. I was trying to help him promote his autobiography. I love Scott and would never do anything to hurt him. But it’s what he told me, and I know other people who’ve heard it too. I wish I could just make the story go away. But I didn’t say it, Scott did.
How did it feel to bury some past grievances with Slayer by touring together?
I’ve never had anything against Kerry [King,Slayer guitarist]. He started it all. The many things he said about me hurt my feelings, but I’m still open to being friends with him. I’m a different person now. I’m 47, I’m happy in my life. As my career nears its end it’s finishing at the top.
**You’ve said your new album, _Endgame_, is the band’s best since _Rust In Peace_, in 1990, even though 1992’s _Countdown To Extinction_ is generally considered to be Megadeth’s best work.**
Oh, this is better than Countdown… But that’s just me. The best thing is that this time I’m coherent to participate in it all.
Why do you think you are in such a good head space right now?
My faith [in God] is behind why I’m playing as good, and how I got rid of my demons. That I’ve been saved is something I don’t push on anybody, but it’s helped me.
You also experienced the darker side…
I didn’t want to do that any more. When I practised witchcraft and put spells on people, they worked. But there were also repercussions. People would think: “Dave’s mean,” or “Dave’s crazy,” but [it was from] practising witchcraft.
**You have an autobiography on the way [_Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir_ was published in 2010]. Should anyone be worried about its contents?**
It’s not mean-spirited, but I tried to make it truthful – even if I incriminate myself. When I closed the book I started weeping, I was so happy. For the first time in my life I felt understood.
**You stayed away from Metallica’s 2009 induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.**
Lars [Ulrich] offered me the chance to sit in the audience [instead]. “It’s only for people who’ve been on the records,” is what I was told. That would’ve been awkward, so I didn’t go. But if God wants me in the Hall Of Fame, I will be there.
This was published in Classic Rock issue 137
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