Hunolt was in discussion with his former bandmate and Exodus singer Steve 'Zetro' Souza when he recalled the early days of thrash.
Mustaine was Metallica's lead guitarist at the time. And according to Hunolt, Dave was the star of the show.
Hunolt tells Zetro's Toxic Vault: "Back in the day, the reason why you went to go see Metallica is because we wanted to go see Dave — that's it. Dave played lead guitar. He spoke in between songs. James sang, that’s all he did. He didn’t play rhythm guitar. It was the Dave Mustaine show. Period. That’s it.
"And he was funny as shit, drunk. Oh, God, he was awesome. Dave was, like, the king back then. How you get kicked out of your own band, I don’t know. But as far as I’m concerned, personally, Dave Mustaine is the godfather of thrash metal.”
Mustaine was fired by Metallica in 1983 and replaced soon after by Kirk Hammett, who joined from Exodus. Hammett was a perfect replacement when it came to style, Hunolt says.
He adds: "This is why I think James chose Kirk. It’s because Dave and his styles back then were similar. James didn’t want no effects on his shit. He wanted Kirk to play dry. No echo, just a real dry Marshall tone. He had a similar style to Dave. Individually, personality-wise — completely two different human beings.”
Hunolt's "Godfather" comment echoes recent comments by Mustaine, in which he described himself as the "alpha male" of early Metallica.