By: Dennis Cook
Patriot, epic shredder, cultural commentator and balls-to-the-wall rocker, Dave Mustaine, the man behind the quarter century and counting metal institution Megadeth, is all these things and a good deal more. While some folks talk about freedom, Mustaine hammers away at it in a way that'd make the founding fathers grin. Like his music or not, there's something undeniably and wonderfully American about Mustaine. He speaks his mind, often coming at things from a place of deep compassion, but also never giving a flying damn if what he says puts your panties in a twist.
"The crux of all of it is this is a good country full of a lot of good people. Every once in a while there's one guy that gets in there and spoils it for everybody. There were a lot of people who thought [George W. Bush] was great but then things started to fall apart, same as the last one. Bill Clinton was amazing for our economy, and I'm sure there's a whole contingency of fat chicks in America that feel special," says Mustaine. "Look at what the Bush administration is doing. Do you really think we need to be getting most of our oil from the Middle East when there's enough oil up in Alaska for the U.S. to survive on? Why won't we drill? I remember them saying they didn't want to drill because of the caribou. Well, you know what I say? Shake 'n' bake. Caribou tastes like pork [laughs]."
Washington Is Next!
A quick look at his bio, a simple list of favorites, on the band's website instantly shows the depth and subtle layers to this complex musician and human being:
Band/Album: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock, Led Zeppelin - Presence
Movie: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Casino Royale
Book: The Art of War - Sun Tzu, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity - Catherine Ponder
Politician: Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and David Palmer
Historical Figure: Jesus Christ, King David and King Arthur
Holiday: Christmas, Independence Day - July 4th and Thanksgiving
Favorite Mega solo: "Kick The Chair," "Holy Wars" and "Burnt Ice"
Favorite Venue: Nationally - Cox Arena, San Diego, California; Internationally - Buenos Aires
TV shows: 24, CNN Headline News/Glen Beck, FOX News/O'Reilly Factor, ESPN/Sports Center
Hobbies: Teaching Megadeth songs to new guitarists, golf, martial arts, yoga
Favorite cliché: Easier to turn a no into a yes, than a yes into a no
Most memorable concert: That One Night in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Most important life lesson: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you would yourself
What do you like to do to relax while touring: Study, focus on my health, lurk on the forums
Occupation if not a musician: President of the United States of America
Megadeth released their eleventh studio album, United Abominations (Roadrunner Records), last May. With faux liner notes by Jack Bauer, the album eviscerates the dumbness and manipulation at the core of the fear agenda in the U.S. today. As the title implies, Mustaine also has plenty of righteous bile to spill on the United Nations.
Megadeth by Larry Beard
"It was an important record for us because a lot of people were wondering where we'd go after The System Has Failed (2004). [Abominations] just picked up this anti-U.N. sentiment. It was written during the period of the recent Lebanese/Israeli flare-up and the second installment of the Iraq War brought to you by the Bush family, Haliburton and whatnot," says Mustaine. "You've got all the nations of the world able to apply spin to the grievances they commit and that has nothing to do with the charter of the United Nations. Most people just go about their business and don't worry about it as long as it doesn't take anything out of their pocket. The reason I got upset with the U.N. was there was a Russian diplomat that came to the States and allegedly ran a stop sign and killed an American. Nothing happened to him, nothing, [because of] diplomatic immunity. The guy didn't even have to get any kind of counseling for his alcoholism. He just went back to Russia. If we went over to Russia and ran a stop sign while drunk and killed somebody we'd still be peeling potatoes."
The intensity and aggression of United Abominations speaks to a through line that begins with their 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good, which contained ominous titles like "Skull Beneath The Skin" and "Looking Down The Cross" but also a cheeky reinvention of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots," a sign of their good humor amidst the sturm und drang. Mustaine has sustained a sense of smart anger for over 25 years, mostly taking shots at targets that richly deserve it, while always maintaining an intrinsic love of playing music. There's actually a lot of joy and light to this candidate for "Rock's Angriest Man."
"I appreciate that, and I know there's tongue-in-cheek to that observation. I'm not vilifying everyone that's been in office but a lot of people called public servants don't have the slightest idea what a public servant is. They may have started out well but somewhere along the line the pandering took over and compromised their integrity. They take that one last spoonful of caviar that breaks the camel's back and they become corrupt, bigoted politicos," observes Mustaine. "In America, there are better people to run for President of the United States than George Bush or John Kerry but as soon as anyone runs for the presidency they dig up dirt on them. If I ever ran you would immediately know about everyone I ever rolled a joint with or took my clothes off with. It's enough to scare anyone who wants to run. Do you think George Washington would have done it if he'd known they'd be rooting through his underwear for the next 200 years? He would have probably said, 'I'm going back to England. Cheerio, pip pip and fuck off [laughs].'"
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