Dave Mustaine says he hit back at school bullies by learning to play the guitar.
The Megadeth frontman was picked on as a teenager because of his “strawberry blond” hair, skinny build and freckles.
He tells Seymour Duncan Pickups: “It’s kind of like having someone slam your hand in the door of a car. You can either sit there and do nothing and accept the pain, or you can open the door and go after and kick that guy’s ass.
“That’s basically what motivated me to play the guitar. There was a lot of things in my life I didn’t like. I was getting picked on as a kid and was able to express myself through the guitar. When you’re 13 and you’re strawberry blond and you’re skinny and freckle-faced and you’re going to a school where everybody is surfers, you get picked on.
“You get picked on long enough you either start doing something to defend yourself, which is when I started martial arts, or you do something that helps you raise your value to the people around you.”
Seeing kids playing guitars and winning the adoration of their peers at parties pushed the young Mustaine towards a life in music.
He adds: “I had gone to a bunch of keg parties, beer and shit, and there was people playing there and I was, like, ‘Wow, everybody loves these guys because he’s got a guitar.’ And that’s when I started playing, I was 13.”
Megadeth are currently searching for a new drummer and guitarist after last year’s departures of Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover. Marty Friedman, Nick Menza and Dave Lombardo have been linked with the vacant roles.