Megadeth have just released a new album, The Sick, the Dying... And the Dead!, and as much as Dave Mustaine has been talking about the record in the press, he’s also taken some opportunities to discuss his earliest days in Metallica.
Most recently, during an interview with Classic Rock, the Megadeth leader was asked about an incident recounted in his 2010 autobiography, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, in which he referred to himself as "the leader of the band" when it came to Metallica.
After the interviewer, Paul Elliott, pointed out the forwardness of that statement given that Metallica front man James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich are "such alpha males," Mustaine responded:
"Oh no. I am clearly the alpha male between the three of us. Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me talk to the promoters and collect the cash? Why was I the one who had to do the fighting? Why did I have to talk in between songs?"
Elliott when on to observe that the experience of being kicked out of Metallica seemed to have made Mustaine both driven and, to some extent, bitter.
Replied Mustaine, “How can you expect a boy who’s 20 and the guitar player in one of the biggest new things in the world to have a grasp on reality? Everything from that point forward was a fucking feud. Everywhere I went it was: “So, how’s everything going with Meta… er, Megadeth?”
Regardless, Mustaine affirmed that he doesn’t find it difficult to talk about those experiences anymore.
“No,” he said. “I really don’t give a fuck. And you know what? I love those guys. I sent a text message to James just a couple of days ago after he'd said that he was insecure about his playing. I said: 'James, I love you and I really like your playing.' He didn’t answer. Of course not. Why would he? The point is I wanted him to know that I’ve had those feelings too, but I don’t now."
He continued, “I must remind you that when I joined Metallica, James did not play guitar. He just picked it up and started playing when I was in the band. But let’s be honest, James is one of the best metal guitar players in the world. So for him to have those feelings, that’s a lie, because he’s a mind-blowingly talented guy. So I just felt I needed to say something to him. I didn’t tweet it. I didn’t want anybody to know what I said. But I’m telling you because, hey, you brought it up!”