Is Dave Mustaine the Godfather of thrash metal?

A picture of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine
(Image credit: Jeremy Saffer)

Former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt has hailed Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine as "the Godfather of thrash metal."

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.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.