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Megadeth Frontman Dave Mustaine on Touring With Iron Maiden, Social Media + More

Dave Mustaine
Charles Epting for Loudwire

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. The metal legend discussed the band’s recent tour with Iron Maiden as well as the role social media plays in music these days. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her full interview with Dave Mustaine:

People are probably surprised by the wide range of music you like. What is the furthest from Megadeth that you listen to and how does it ultimately influence your own music?

Well, I don’t know if I can go to the furthest extreme, but I do remember just a couple of days ago trying to explain to someone that I thought a car commercial had ripped off a Seal song, so the fact that I would know the songwriting structure of a Seal track kind of gives you an idea that it’s pretty diversified.

In terms of up-and-coming bands that you’ve been hearing about, anything that excites you?

[My son] Justis had just turned me on to a band called Nonpoint recently that I liked and we’re going to be [touring with] them at the end of the year [click here for tour dates]. There’s a lot of bands that are out there that, again, you’re struggling from the identity crisis, and there’s a lot of stuff that, for me, old-school stuff I appreciate a little bit more because you can really identify who the people are.

You just played with Iron Maiden and later this year will be touring with Black Sabbath. You’ve shared the stage with other iconic bands who have influenced you as a young musician. Of all of those bands that have inspired your formative years, which one has made an even bigger impact that are now your peers?

Well, because a lot of the bands that we’ve been out onstage with were similar to us, I’d probably say the one that made the biggest influence on was the farthest from our genre, which was AC/DC, because of the way that they had taken that simple southern boogie kind of music and made it such a monster. With heavy metal, it’s a way of life, so a lot of it is, you know, people love the heavy metal lifestyle, but there’s not really a lot of bands that sound like AC/DC that have gotten that big, and going out and seeing how they’ve simplified it to just a raw, powerful show, we learned a lot from them production wise, too.

The funniest thing was when I actually met Angus [Young]. He was in his dressing room and he came out and he walked around the corner, and he was so little, I just think, ‘Oh my God,’ I kind of bent down and shook him and hugged him and stuff, and he was like he was a little kid; it was just so neat because I looked up to him, I still look up to him so much.

Or look down to him.

I look up from on top, I look down – no, never mind, there’s no way to say that right.

Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on the show with us. Talking about this Iron Maiden tour. Is there any experience that stands out for you? I know you’ve toured with them before, pretty great band to be on the road with. Is it just that you see each other when you’re passing each other going on stage? Or do you hang out?

We all spend time together talking. One of the first shows we did, it was actually the Nashville show, we all went to a private club that was shut down, and hung out and had cocktails and stuff, and Shawn [Drover] went playing golf with Nicko [McBrain], a couple of times as a matter of fact, I think; I know that they played in Las Vegas with Rod Smallwood, their manager, and I’ve talked with Dave Murray and with Adrian; I saw Bruce for half a second, because he was pretty busy, but I think out of everybody we saw, we saw Nicko the most. Nicko’s probably the most outward going guy, too, I think the other guys are just kind of got that really cool kind of British shyness sometimes that’s so respectable, that stiff upper lip kind of thing.

It’s amazing. I just spent a bunch of time out there. I went out for Download, which I had never been to. It’s such a different type of people that you experience when you’re out there. There’s definitely a politeness but I feel like what’s funny is, they could be giving you an insult but it’s so polite in that accent, it comes across, you’re like, ‘thank you.’

Yeah, it’s like a bunch of outtakes from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire.’

Dave, some guitarists take the instrument out of the case only when it’s time to tour. Others seem to never put it down and almost literally have it always in the hand. Where do you fall

Never take it out of the case. I like playing it, but it’s kind of a hassle to plug it in and keep in tune, and everything like that. When I pick it up, I want to play it. And the other thing, too, is because when I play, I write, I’m not always ready to record, and that’s really frustrating when you have a really great musical moment and you’re not ready to capture it, because no matter how bad you try to re-hum something that you just played, it doesn’t ever sound the same.

Are you the guy that sits there with a recorder to record ideas or writing stuff down?

I sing into my phone. I remember when I first got married, I was doing that, I was calling my cell phone, or calling my voicemail in the middle of the night, and [my wife] was like, ‘Who are you talking to?’ It’s like that Allstate commercial where the guys talking to some guy.

Full Metal Jackie with Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. Something you and I have talked about before, I kind of want to get your take on this, obviously from when you first got into music to today things are different with the digital world. Social media, Facebook and Twitter. I feel like, while I’d be lying if I said I don’t appreciate having Facebook and Twitter. We all use it. I think it’s taken away a little bit of the mystique when it comes to – if you weren’t at the show, when I was a kid, you won’t know what it was like. There was no YouTube or Twitter. I feel like it’s changed the perception of everything in terms of if anything gets taken out of context. Do you like or appreciate social media?

I think it’s cool to an extent, but I also think because of the whole way that some celebrities have used it and exploited it. If you don’t post pictures of a lower GI, then you’re not being open with your fans. Now, you can tell what were eating, you know what we’re drinking and know what we’re doing just about everything about us except blood panels. You follow enough celebrities I’m sure you’ll be getting a DNA sample from some of these guys if I stand close enough to them with blood or spit on you. For me, I liked being private but I also like sharing the music side of our life with our fans. I think that’s really cool if you can find that balance. I still have a really private life. But I also try and really bring the fans into the bands – if you were in the band, this is what it would be like. Just because you’re in the band doesn’t mean you’re in my head.

Do you think that if Twitter and Facebook were around when Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath were just starting out that they would still be known as these legendary icons?

I think that if Led Zeppelin still had their groups intact with stuff like these gossip sites, [their manager] Peter Grant probably would have beat the f— out of these little punks. There’d be a lot of bones breaking in Hollywood. I think that would be really cool. It’s kind of weird the way the Internet has wuss-a-fied so many people where they’re cowards who hide behind a keyboard and say stuff. Back in the day when people would say something bad about you in the press, it took some guts to do that. You knew who said it.

There would be a name they’d be quoting.

Or someone’s handle or ridiculous tag they’ve got for their email address. Again, I think that the Internet is great for certain reasons. If you remember back: October 31, 1994, we were the first band to have a website. We won just about every single award there was in the very beginning, so we’re not against the Internet at all. I don’t claim to be Al Gore or anything like that but we have been really involved with the Web ever since the whole music scene had made that transition over to being an online thing like that. I think that, done with good taste you can have social stuff like that.

Full Metal Jackie. Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on the show. Pick up the latest album ‘Super Collider’ and good luck with the rest of your touring. I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us.

You’re welcome. I love the way you say “metal.”

This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Mark Osegueda of Death Angel to her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

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