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High on Fire’s Matt Pike Calls Dave Mustaine ‘Innovative,’ Doesn’t Think ‘Metallica Would Sound Like Metallica’ Without Him

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Matt Pike is one of the most respected guitarists in the metal scene, having perfected Black Sabbath worship with Sleep and moving onto speedier and sludgier pastures with High on Fire. Speaking candidly, he discussed the early days of thrash in a recent interview, crediting Dave Mustaine with the sound Metallica ultimately built their success upon.

“He was an innovative f–king guy for that era,” Pike began telling The Void. “I don’t think Metallica would sound like Metallica without Dave Mustaine. I don’t think a lot of people would be doing ‘jugga-juggas’ if Dave Mustaine hadn’t set that Metallica thing up. I can tell by his playing. I know the songs that Dave f–king wrote in that band, and then you see him and what he does now…,” he said, trailing off and picking his thoughts back up, adding, “And, you know, there’s certain albums that I like better than others, but probably because I was a kid when [Megadeth album] So Far, So Good… So What! came along. And then nowadays, when I hear it, I’m an older man… It’s still great, but it’s not the one that I had the lust over when I was a metal kid. I never thought I’d be sitting in a room with Dave Mustaine at any given moment in my life.”

The conversation was kickstarted when talking about the (in)famous documentary series the Decline of the Western Civilization and the difference between the two metal scenes in California. Pike reflected, “The difference between glam rock, [which is] what was going on then, and then what the thrash metal guys [who] were coming into that L.A. scene, in that Bay Area scene, and there’s this competing force, ’cause it’s still metal, but some are longhairs and some are just not wearing lipstick and they’re concentrating on their riffs. That’s where Testament came from, Possessed, Dark Angel, you know, Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax [from New York] — all that kind of stuff was coming from their integrity of them not having anything.”

High on Fire will be featured as part of the Decibel Magazine Tour, headlined by former Immortal frontman Abbath and filled out by melodic death-thrashers Skeletonwitch and genre-benders Tribulation. The tour kicks off on March 17 in Baltimore Md. and a full list of dates can be seen at our 2016 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours.

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