Many Many Happy returns of day, Dave Mustaine.
David Scott “Dave” Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician. He is best known as the co-founder, guitarist, and lead singer of the American thrash metal band Megadeth, and well as the original lead guitarist for the American heavy metal band Metallica.
||David Scott Mustaine
||September 13, 1961
La Mesa, California, United States
||Thrash metal, heavy metal
||Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, actor, author, talent manager
||Loud, Combat, Capitol, Sanctuary, Roadrunner, Tradecraft
||Megadeth, Metallica, MD.45, Red Lamb
David Mustaine was born in La Mesa, California, to Emily (née David) and John Mustaine. His father was of French and Finnish descent and his mother was Jewish. He was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Panic was Mustaine’s first band. The lineup was Mike Leftwych on drums, Bob Evans on bass, Tom Quecke on rhythm guitar, Pat Voeks as the vocalist and Dave Mustaine was the lead guitarist. Both Mike Leftwych and the sound man were killed in a car crash after Panic’s second show.
In 1981, Mustaine left Panic to join Metallica as the lead guitarist. Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich had posted an ad in a local newspaper, The Recycler, looking for a lead guitarist. In his own words, Mustaine remembers his first meeting with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich: “I was in the room warming up and I walked out and asked, ‘Well, am I gonna audition or what?’, and they said, ‘No, you’ve got the job.’ I couldn’t believe how easy it had been and suggested that we get some beer to celebrate.”
Mustaine’s membership in Metallica ended before recording Kill ‘Em All in 1983. Brian Slagel, owner of Metal Blade Records, recalls in an interview: “Dave was an incredibly talented guy but he also had an incredibly large problem with alcohol and drugs. He’d get wasted and become a real crazy person, a raging megalomaniac, and the other guys just couldn’t deal with that after a while. I mean, they all drank of course, but Dave drank more … much more. I could see they were beginning to get fed up of seeing Dave drunk out of his mind all the time.”
On one occasion, Mustaine brought his dog to rehearsal; the dog jumped onto the car of Metallica bassist Ron McGovney and scratched the paint. Hetfield allegedly yelled at Mustaine’s dog and kicked it in anger, to which Mustaine responded by physically attacking Hetfield and McGovney and verbally abusing Ulrich. Mustaine was fired following the altercation, but the next day, Mustaine asked to be allowed back in the band and was granted his request. Another incident occurred when Mustaine, who had been drinking, poured a full can of beer down the neck and into the pick-ups of Ron McGovney’s bass. When McGovney tried playing it, he received an electrical shock, which he claims ‘blew him across the room and shocked the hell out of him’. McGovney then told Mustaine and Hetfield to leave his house and left the band shortly after.
On April 11, 1983, after Metallica had driven to New York to record their debut album, Mustaine was officially fired from the band because of his alcoholism, drug abuse, overly aggressive behavior, and personality clashes with founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, an incident Mustaine refers to as “no warning, no second chance”. The band packed up Dave’s gear, drove him to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and put him on a Greyhound bus bound for Los Angeles. It was on this bus ride that Mustaine scribbled some lyrical ideas on the back of a hand bill, which would later become the song “Set the World Afire” from the 1988 Megadeth album So Far, So Good… So What!
During his time in Metallica, Dave Mustaine toured with the band, co-wrote four songs that appeared on Kill Em All, and co-wrote two songs that would eventually appear on Ride the Lightning. Mustaine has also made unverified claims to have written parts of “Leper Messiah” from Master of Puppets. He also recorded several songs with the band including the No Life ‘Til Leather demo tape. A few of the songs he wrote with Hetfield and Ulrich went on to be re-recorded by Metallica. The most well-known of these is “The Four Horsemen” from Kill ‘Em All, which Mustaine wrote as “The Mechanix” and later released on Megadeth’s debut album with the original lyrics as “Mechanix”.
Fallen Angels was the name of the short-lived band that Mustaine founded after his departure from Metallica. In April 1983, after returning to California to live with his mother, he landed what he calls his first real job with the aid of Robbie McKinney. McKinney and a friend, Matt Kisselstein, worked with Mustaine as telemarketers. Mustaine quit his job after earning enough money to move to an apartment in Hollywood, and recruited McKinney, who played guitar, and Kisselstein, who played bass, for his band Fallen Angels. In his biography, Mustaine describes that “We lacked the chemistry, the energy, the spark—or whatever you want to call it—that gives a band life in its infancy.” The partnership did not last.
This paved the way for his partnership for Dave Ellefson and Greg Handevidt. Ellefson was playing the opening bass line of Van Halen’s ‘Running with the Devil’ in the apartment below Mustaine’s. After stomping on the floor and shouting for them to stop, Mustaine, being hung over at the time, took a potted plant and threw it ou t of his window and hit the air conditioner of the apartment below.This resulted in the 2 coming up to Mustaine’s apartment to ask for cigarettes. Mustaine replied “There’s a store on the corner” and slammed the door in their faces.A few minutes later, they knocked on the door, this time asking if he could buy them beer. Mustaine’s reply: ‘Ok, now you are talking’. They spent the night talking about music, and soon after, Mustaine, Ellefson and Handevidt were then bandmates.
With little confidence in his own vocal capabilities, Mustaine added ‘Lor’ Kane (real name Lawrence Renna) to the Fallen Angels roster. Kane did not stay long, although is credited for the suggestion that they should change the name to Megadeth, knowing that Mustaine had written a song of the same name. After Kane left, the first of many drummers, Dijon Carruthers, joined the band. The lineup of Mustaine, Ellefson, Handevidt and Carruthers would be the first incarnation of Megadeth.
After a series of unsuccessful vocalist auditions, Mustaine elected to take on vocal duties himself in addition to playing lead guitar. In 1984, Megadeth cut a three-song demo with drummer Lee Rausch, who replaced Carruthers after Mustaine and Ellefson decided they couldn’t trust him. Carruthers had chosen to hide his black heritage from them by claiming he was Spanish, and they couldn’t understand why he would deceive them since they weren’t racist. Kerry King joined the band for a few shows; however, he opted to leave Megadeth after less than a week so he could continue working on his own band, Slayer. Jazz-influenced drummer Gar Samuelson replaced Raush, who left after Mustaine convinced him to play with a broken foot.Megadeth recorded a demo as a three-piece band, which captured the attention of guitarist Chris Poland, also a jazz player and a friend of Samuelson, who subsequently joined the band. In November, the band signed a deal with Combat Records and began touring.
In May 1985, Megadeth released their first album, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!, on Combat Records. That summer, the band toured the U.S. and Canada with Exciter. Guitarist Mike Albert replaced Chris Poland when he was incarcerated for possession of heroin. After Poland was released, he rejoined the band in October and the band then began recording their second studio album for Combat. On New Year’s Eve of that year, Megadeth played in San Francisco with Exodus and Metal Church. Metallica was the headliner. This was the only time Megadeth and Metallica were on the same card, until 1991.
In 1986, after recording Killing Is My Business…, Mustaine approached Jackson Guitars for a custom-built guitar. Jackson modified their existing Jackson King V model for Mustaine by adding 2 more frets to the standard 22 fret King V. In the 1990s the company began mass-producing a Dave Mustaine signature series Jackson King V, which continued into the early 2000s. This model uses Seymour Duncan SH-4 pickups, also known as TB-4 pickups.
The following year, major label Capitol Records signed Megadeth and obtained the rights to their second album, Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?, from Combat. Megadeth opened a U.S. tour with King Diamond and Motörhead. This album, released in November, is regarded as a landmark metal album. It produced the notable title track (the opening bass lick of which was used by “MTV News” segments) as well as the thrash anthem “Wake Up Dead”. The videos for both songs became staples on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
In February 1987, Megadeth opened for Alice Cooper on his Constrictor tour. The band also toured with King Diamond whose previous band, Mercyful Fate, were a huge influence on Megadeth. In March, Megadeth’s first world tour began in the U.K. Mustaine and Ellefson guested on the band Malice’s License To Kill album. Megadeth re-recorded “These Boots” for the soundtrack to the film “Dudes”, and that summer went on tour with Overkill and Necros. Amid drug problems and suspicions of stealing the band’s equipment and pawning it for drug money, Mustaine fired Poland and Samuelson after their last show in Hawaii.
Chuck Behler, who had been Samuelson’s drum tech, became Megadeth’s new drummer with guitarist Jeff Young replacing Poland. Megadeth released their third album, So Far, So Good… So What!, in January 1988. The album contains the song “In My Darkest Hour”, which, according to the liner notes of So Far, So Good… So What!, was composed after the death of Metallica’s bass player Cliff Burton, despite the lyrics having nothing to do with Burton. “Hook in Mouth” attacked the Parents Music Resource Center with gusto, although their cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK”, despite a guest appearance from ex-Pistol Steve Jones, was ill-advised in the eyes of Allmusic’s critic.
Later that year, Megadeth opened for Dio and then Iron Maiden on tour before playing the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in the U.K. with Kiss, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, David Lee Roth, and Helloween. Shortly after, Mustaine fired Behler and Young, accusing Young of having thoughts of a relationship with Mustaine’s then-girlfriend. Around this period, Mustaine produced the debut album from Seattle thrash band Sanctuary, called Refuge Denied.
Nick Menza, who was Chuck Behler’s drum tech, joined Megadeth in 1989, and the band recorded their only track ever as a three-piece: a cover of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” for the Wes Craven-directed horror flick, Shocker. Video director Penelope Spheeris would later recount in the Megadeth episode of Behind The Music that Mustaine showed up to the video shoot so fried on heroin and other drugs that he could not sing and play guitar at the same time; therefore, the singing and playing had to be recorded separately. Mustaine was arrested for “impaired driving” that March with seven or more drugs in his system and was forced by authorities to enter a rehabilitation program (the first of his 17 visits to rehabilitation centers).