Matching Megadeth's aggressive approach, frontman/guitarist Dave Mustaine rarely lets off the accelerator when it comes to giving his opinion at the opportune time. There have been quite a few interviews with Mustaine that have raised eyebrows, but during a particular interview conducted during the 25h anniversary of Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? album, he had quite a bit to say about his own satanic lyrics (i.e., "The Conjuring"), Lars (Ulrich) and James (Hetfield) of Metallica, conspiracy theories (JFK, Obama), among others things. But below we picked the most interesting parts.
On performing certain songs from Megadeth’s catalog, like "The Conjuring"
Dave Mustaine: Well, it's not that I wouldn't play that song. It's what the subject matter's about. I've been struggling with that. For example, "Anarchy in the U.K." (on 1988's So Far, So Good...So What!) is a song I really don't like playing because it starts off and says 'I am an Antichrist.' Well, I'm not an antichrist. Not only am I not it, I don't want to be it. I won't even be one of them. And as far as "The Conjuring" ... it actually has the components of a hex in it and when I wrote the song it was cool and it was vogue to be into black magic and the dark side and stuff like that — so it was really cool to have lines from a hex in it. But looking back now — being a dad, being a responsible person, being a musician who has influenced a lot of lives very positively — I look at it and think 'I don't know if I would play that live.' Same thing with "Bad Omen" also (on the album Peace Sells ...). "Bad Omen" is about a satanic orgy and that was based on a book that we were supposed to read when I was in junior high school in the Los Angeles school district. The Orange County school district, if you could believe that.
On the JFK assassination
Mustaine: I got a video tape sent to me … of the guy who was driving Kennedy, turning around in the car and shooting him in the head. Have you seen that video? They actually got another angle. You know the famous one shown from the passenger side [the zapruder film]. Well, there was somebody else right next to him. They had another camera. Oh my God, it will make you hate your government. Because I loved him, growing up as a kid. He was the President who was in office when I was born. So you think about how things were when you were a kid and everyone's pining about how great Kennedy was. So really after he had held office there wasn't really a lot of hope for the States.
On the conspiracy theory regarding President Obama's birth certificate
Mustaine: Where's his birth certificate? You know what, that birth certificate he showed everybody ... I remember buying one of those to go buy booze. Hello, Obama. C'mon dude, they used to sell those in the back of Creem magazine for $3.
On his relationship with Lars Ulrich (drummer of Metallica) and making amends
Mustaine: The relationship that Lars and I really have had over the years was private, and people really did not know what it was about. They only heard what was said in the press and because of the time delay in the press — you say something in the press and then six months later it pops up again. I can remember on several occasions ... I remember when I was in Arizona and I had just taken my fifth year of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous — I mean, I am no longer a member of the twelve step fellowship because when I got saved my life changed and I was set free from a lot of that insanity — but at that time I was really doing the deal. I was sponsoring guys and going to meetings, doing service work and all that stuff. And I heard something on the radio and it questioned my sobriety and I was really hurt. You know, that's the kind of stuff people don't see. They're not sitting here next to me when I hear it on the radio. I knew that when the chance, the turn came around, if anybody was ever gonna make fun of James (Hetfield) when he was going through his thing, it would not be me. Because of how that felt. I promised myself that I was going to stop that and I did. The problem is that when you have an aircraft carrier and you try to turn that sucker around, you're in the wheelhouse, you know that steering wheel's been cranked all the way to the left or right, you know it. But looking out the window, it takes a loooong time for that sucker to turn around. So a lot of the stuff with Lars and I ... we were really close. Whenever he would come to town, we would get together and go and hang out and stuff. I think probably the most popular skirmish was between Lars and I but probably the most painful one was between me and James. Because I cared so much about him, I missed him so much. So when the time came to bury the hatchet it actually came when Darryl from Pantera was assassinated ... I had done his memorial episode for MTV, they had had a Headbanger's Ball for him, and I had said on my Web site after I did that: 'Look, man. life is too short. I am burying the hatchet. Anybody I owe an amends to please let me know so I can do it. I'm extending the olive branch.' And that was the beginning. We got everything sorted out with Pantera, with Metallica, with Slayer and I'm pretty excited about where I'm at with my career.
On playing a different genre of music, like jazz
Mustaine: You know, that would be really good to play jazz ... I would if I could, but I'm just not that good. Jazz is really really challenging. You know, I can do what I do really well, but what I do really isn't that difficult. It's like George Thorogood, remember him? I mean, if you listen to his guitar playing it's pretty not. But when you put it into perspective, you know ... you're really shit-faced playing pool, George Thorogood sounds pretty rad, doesn't he? It depends on where you're at.