'Religious abuse' framed Mustaine's early lyrics

Dave Mustaine has recalled how severe religious abuse inspired his early lyrical output.

The Megadeth mainman says his mother’s devotion to the Jehovah’s witness movement had a profound impact on his view of the world.

He tells Paste: “I think probably as a kid who wrote my first lyric for Mechanix when I was very, very young, and then Jump In The Fire around the same time, those were the writings of a young male who was not quite 21 yet and had been severely religiously abused from my mom’s religion.

“She was a Jehovah’s witness and I don’t believe in it. My opinion is that it’s a cult, and my family’s still in that religion, and it’s a bummer.

“You grow up learning certain things like you can’t do the pledge of allegiance, you can’t have a birthday party, or any of that, and that kind of stuff really affected my myopic view of the world and the prism that I saw it through.”

He adds that as he grows older, his political leanings have changed – but insists he’s not a Republican.

He says: “I’ve been an independent ever since I was able to vote. Now, there are certain states that we’ve lived in where the paperwork to register only had certain things you had to fill in in order to get registered, but I voted for Clinton, I voted for Bush, and when it comes down to watching the whole political process right now, they’re all the same.

“Of course with my lyrics I’m not trying to generalise those things necessarily, because once you start to water down stuff so that it’s a much broader brush, I think you lose the focus. It’s like a candlelight versus a laser beam, and I would rather that I was able to really stay focused on what I write about.”

Megadeth’s 15th album Dystopia was released in January and the band are currently on tour in North America before a string of European and South American shows.


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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.