Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Discusses San Diego Symphony, Motorboat Cruise + More
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Mustaine spoke about the wealth of things on his immediate horizon, including his appearance with the San Diego Symphony, Megadeth’s inclusion in Motorhead‘s Motorboad Cruise and the early stages of the band’s next record. If you missed Jackie’s show, here’s her full interview with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine.
It’s Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. Very happy to say, once again we’ve got Dave Mustaine on the show today. How are you?
I love how you say ‘metal.’
Great to have you on the show, Dave.
I’m great. I love talking to you. How are you?
I’m doing really well and I’m really happy to hear your voice again and you’re obviously busy as usual. Megadeth is set to embark on a world tour in more than 25 countries across four continents starting on April 12, where Dave is going to be collaborating with the San Diego Symphony on ‘Symphony Interrupted.’
We touched on this last time, but does performing with the San Diego Symphony make a statement that a musician’s listening taste is not dictated strictly by the music itself?
One thing that it says is don’t ever underestimate heavy metal or its players. The talent is just so deep with a lot of the royalty in the heavy metal genre. A lot of people, they are quick to say stuff based on what they hear or what they see and they don’t even bother to scratch the surface and see how deep the training is for some of these guitar players.
Like when we would play on Gigantour, every now and then it would great to hook up with some of the players and one of the guys I got a lesson from and I was really impressed with was Alex Skolnick. Sitting down and playing with the guy — if I play with in my band, let alone the other great talent out there, yeah it’s exciting to do this symphony.
Where will you be sitting when this happens?
As far as the position that the orchestra goes, its pretty much the same seating everyone sees and when the conductor looks at his band, what he’s doing with the orchestra there — there’s a certain positioning of the players. You’ve got your strings up in front and right up the center is where your percussion takes place. To one side is the brass, the other side is the woods. One side is the bass, the other side is more of the higher pitched instruments.
Right on your left hip is where your lead violin is going to be. Just like with me playing guitar, on my left hand is where the solo comes from. As the conductor, the left hand would be where the solo would come from. So I’m going to be sitting in that position, if I sit at all.
I’m still wondering if I’m going to sit or stand, in my head I know what I’m going to do but when we get there it’s like, I don’t know man, I just may jump up and start head banging.
Of course, the world tour is going to be kicking off on April 12 and let’s talk about the Motorboat Cruise. I saw that lineup, it seems like its going to be such a fun time. Megadeth will be aboard the Motorboat Cruise in September with Motorhead, Anthrax. Dave, what are you looking forward to most about this event?
[Laughs] Seeing Lemmy in his bathing suit. I think the show is going to be really interesting because you’ve got the isolation of being on a boat out in the middle of the ocean and strictly metal bands and for the most part, as far as I know, a lot of metalheads that are going to be there. I’m sure there might be some people taking the cruise just for the hell of it, but I think this is going to be pretty die hard fans of Megadeth and Motorhead.
There are some other talented acts that are going to be on there. I’m not sure whose confirmed yet. I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like getting into a boat and moving, because the boat itself is going to be moving while you’re playing. That’s going to be weird for me, to be standing on the stage and feeling like I’m swaying and I’m not swaying because of partying too much.
So you’ve never played on a boat before. Have you ever been to a concert on a boat?
No, I just recently did my first actual cruise on a boat a few years ago. There are supposed to be three cruises you can do. There’s the young and horny set, the middle-aged ‘my marriage is on the rocks so I’m going on a cruise and I’ll probably hook up with someone else’s wife while I’m on the cruise’ set and then there’s the blue-haired set. So, of course, we went with the blue haired people and everybody on the cruise was like, ‘What are you doing on this thing?’ And we’re like, ‘Well we didn’t know.’ We thought it was a boat and we bought tickets. It was pretty nice though, there were only a few old men who tried picking up on my wife, it wasn’t really that bad. It’s funny to see some of these old couples out there partying too.
Obviously, promoter interest is a key factor on where you play but are you also inclined to want to play places specifically because you want to experience the culture?
Sometimes. Sometimes there are places we go to and we go strictly for the fans alone. Going into places like Alaska during the dead of winter, Alaska is a beautiful place but I wouldn’t go there during the winter if it wasn’t for the fans. That’s just a sound judgement decision.
Some of the places we’ve gone — when we went to Israel going into Dubai, traveling through some of the places we’ve had to connect through, some of the places we’ve played in the past — they had just opened up the gates to liberty and freedom and music. Us going there as an intensely politically outspoken band, showing up there and talking about “Peace sells … but nobody’s buying,” then showing up in a place like Poland or the Czech Republic or any of these places when they had just had been liberated.
Going down to Argentina when they just allowed them to start listening to music, going into Colombia and Venezuela where American government has made the American people not really popular down there — we go because it’s about the fans. Now there are certain places, like going to Costa Rica that I was so excited to go to because you hear how beautiful it is. Playing in Hawaii, which is great. There’s also stuff like going to India where you get to see stuff like the Taj Mahal — it’s like, wow! I never thought I’d see something like that as a kid.
Is there any place left that you have not been?
Yeah, to Africa and we’re working on that next year. Next year is — we’ve got this year booked all the way through, and already have next year too. We’re pretty excited about what we’re doing. We’re trying to take advantage our off time, get together and write because we have so much great touring opportunity. That is one of the main goals next year; is to get to Africa, go down to Cape Town and Johannesburg.
I think there’s only three places to play there. Some guy that used to be part of our past, well he is a part of our past, had said that he had booked a nine-city show in Africa and I’m thinking nuh-uh. I don’t know where those other six cities are dude! I don’t think there are six cities there to play.
You touched on the guys getting together with you, getting into the studio. ‘Super Collider,’ obviously the latest album came out last June. It was the 14th album from Megadeth, and highest charting album since ‘Youthanasia’ back in 1994. So, congrats again on that.
When you look back on the timeline between records, there’s usually a year or two typically between records. Are you starting to look ahead on when you’re going to work on another record?
Well, we have already started the process of listening to licks and talking to people about working. The funny thing is, I’m not a big believer in coincidence. I think it’s people’s way of saying that there’s no powers greater than us that help plan out our life. I totally believe in destiny. We just got done doing the Vevo acoustic performance a while ago and some lady walks by and goes, ‘Hey, Max Norman says hi,’ as the elevator door closes. I stuck my hand in the door and said, ‘What did you say?’ Max Norman says hi. Max Norman? Max Norman Norman? Yeah. Wow. Really?’ We kind of hadn’t spoken in… Jesus, forever. So I call him up and asked him what he was doing.
He had gotten out of making records and he’s back into making records and I thought, ‘I wonder what it would be like to maybe try one song with this guy and see if we can catch lightning twice.’ It’s just neat to be in that position where you can do stuff like this. I know how hard it is for bands to make it now a days. That’s still the underlying goal for me, with my band, is to be able to bring other bands out with us to play live and see how great it is to play in front of some of the greatest metal fans in the world. I’m not saying Megadeth fans are the best fans in the world, I believe that, but I know there’s a lot of metal fans out there. They may not like Megadeth and it doesn’t mean they’re not great people. So, you learn a lot of crap as you go along too.
Dave, many musicians, yourself included, have described an album as a snapshot or representation of where they are in their life. What are your life priorities right now? How do you anticipate they’ll affect the musical direction of the next Megadeth album?
Wow, great question. My priorities have changed. Before I got married, it was just about myself and my band. As you change, as you grow, as you pick up people in your life, whether you’re planning on getting married or having a casual relationship, whether you’re straight or not, whatever you do, you find love.
Your life changes and you start to have to think about somebody else. I mean, at least I’d think if you weren’t a selfish prick, you would be thinking about someone that you love. Once you bring a life into it, again, whether you’re straight or gay or have a child naturally or by in-vitro or adoption, I think adoption is cool too. To have a responsibility like that totally changes things. Justis just turned 22, he’s got a great job, he works at our management company. College and all that stuff.
Go figure, you’d think that having a rock star as a dad, you’d be a complete loser, he’s not. Electra is doing great too and as they grow up, I start to get my Dave time back. I gotta tell you man, I’m loving this right now because I’ve been playing, sitting in my studio listening to music and falling in love with the guitar again. Chris and I just wrote some really killer stuff two days ago. I’m excited, I can’t wait to see what this new record is going to sound like.
Awesome, so is Max going to be somebody that you think is going to produce the whole next record?
No. At this point right now I’d say definitive I don’t know because we don’t know. We don’t even know when it’s going to happen. I do know that I have tremendous respect for Max. I know Cameron Webb is going to be involved with the record for sure.
But I’m a capable record producer and I know if I did it solely with Cameron as much as he did the last record — he was one of Johnny K’s guys. Johnny had some stuff he had to do and Cameron filled in for him really well. We made a great team. I’d like to have Max try some stuff, but if it ain’t right, it ain’t right. Hard to think that something that Max would do wouldn’t be right but, times are a little different. Sometimes people grow apart. I’m hopeful and optimistic.
Sounds like it’s early to tell. You have so much coming up this year.
Plus, there are so many frickin songs too, I was going through all the stuff we had. Honestly, I have more songs than I know — I don’t have to write another note for the rest of my life and I have enough music to finish my career out. It’s a matter of just weeding out what I want to use and what I don’t want to use. There’s a huge library of metal riffs for other bands and stuff. That’s one of the things we’re looking forward to too, as I go off into another phase of my career is doing some co-writes.
Dave, it’s always a pleasure to have you on the show. I appreciate you being a guest once again. I’ll definitely be seeing you real soon.
Thanks, Jackie. Hey, just as a closing thought too, if I can say this. David Ellefson, Chris [Broderick] and Shawn [Drover] have all been really actively doing stuff with the fans. Giving them opportunities to spend time with them with their clinics. David has a new book coming out, he’s doing book signings and stuff. Shawn has been appearing at golf tournaments and drum clinics, so has Chris. This tour that’s going to be coming up back in the States in 2015 is going present us with a lot of opportunities to hang out with our fans again, which I think is the best part about this job.
It’s fun to be up on stage but if you can’t talk to the people that are listening to your music, if you can’t share your life with them and have them share their life with you, man, you just get into this place where it’s just all about yourself and I don’t ever want to be like that.
Awesome, great to know. Is all the stuff the other band members are doing also up on the site?
It is. There’s stuff that they do. David Ellefson has been doing something called Altitudes & Attitude, and Chris has been very actively pursuing his lessons and stuff, he’s an alumni at the Musicians Institute of Technology — one of the instructors there. Shawn and Chris have been doing a lot of clinics too through their endorsements. Shawn’s endorsed by Yamaha right now and they have some stuff set up for him.
We only have a couple of shows we have set up in the States this year. We have two in April and a few in the latter part of the year. One in Wisconsin, but I don’t know if that’s public knowledge yet. LIke you said, other than that, we’ve got some — you are going to die when you hear this other news I’ve got. I can’t say anything right now, but we have this massive thing coming up in 2015 that’s just so outrageous.
You know I love you and I would tell you. As soon as I can, you will be one of the very first people on the planet to know. In fact, I will make a phone call after this and see when we can tell you and make sure you’re one of the people that breaks it.
I love that, thank you.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome on her show Lacuna Coil frontwoman Cristina Scabbia. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.