Frontman Dave Mustaine talks about reviving thrash-metal sound, getting back into the studio, hitting the road
Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine has no tattoos. And that's totally metal.
“(Metal music) is about doing something no one else does,” Mustaine said. Which is why it shouldn't be so surprising that it's constantly changing. And Megadeth, itself, has gone through a metamorphosis. Where once a hard-core image was all the rage, now it's more about the music and bands just being what they are.
“With this one, we're back on track of where we wanted to be as a metal band,” Mustaine said of the group's new CD, “Super Collider.” “We hit the nadir of our career with “Risk,” and I vowed after that we were going to get back to our roots. It took a little bit of time to do that.”
But now, he said, the group is back to the hard-charging thrash metal that legions of fans fell for in the first place. Mustaine and his new-old sound will be headlining the Gigantour event at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook in Gilford on Wednesday, July 3. The show will feature a mix of metal bands hand-picked by Mustaine, including Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division. The show will be a mix of classics and songs from “Super Collider.”
“There have only been a few records so far that I thought were completely done — “Countdown (to Extinction)” was one and “(Super Collider)” is the other one,” he said. “When you're recording a record, there's two things ... well, actually, three things, that can happen: You run out of time, run out of money or run out of songs. I never run out of songs.”
But they have been short on time. Since Megadeth has always been a touring band, records were slotted into the rare bits of down time, he said. As for money, before returning to a big label, the band was signed to the small independent label Sanctuary. So, running out of money was all too common.
“They put out a live record —it was a two-CD record,” Mustaine said, “and they only mixed one of the CDs. I'm thinking, 'You're kidding, right? You're not going to do this.' So, you know, this is just some of the stuff you guys have to tolerate as music listeners — (things) that, at the time, you really don't know about.”
Starting out, the band was considered a “state of the art, speed-metal band,” he said. But as the metal craze faded and the 1990s saw the rise of alternative and grunge genres —an angsty cousin to metal — bands like Megadeth found themselves in a pickle.
“Heavy metal bands had to kind of reinvent themselves,” he said. “We learned a lot about melody at the time, and it produced five singles and one No. 1 with 'Trust.' When that happens, you tend to get a little excited.”
He said that excitement led the band to allow producers to have a heavier hand in the making of their records, resulting in work like the album “Risk,” which Mustaine said, “would have been good as a solo record, but not a Megadeth record. And I think the fans agree.”
That's not the case with “Super Collider,” he contends.
“This one has a real aggressive feeling, but doesn't have real juvenile lyrics to ruin it,” he said.
And as for the state of metal today, Mustaine said, it, too, has changed from the hazy heavy days of Led Zeppelin, and even the punk rock-infused days of speed metal. Still, he tries not to pay too much attention.
“People would ask me, 'What kind of band are you?',” he said. “And I would say, 'We're just Megadeth. We're like a jazz-classical-punk outfit with long hair.”
The show starts at 4:30 p.m. with doors open at 3:30 p.m. and parking open at 2:30 p.m. This is an all ages show. Tickets are $23.75, $33, $42 and $58, plus applicable service fees. For more information, log onto meadowbrook.net or call 293-4700.
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