Megadeth have one of the most intimidating band names in all of metal, but do you know how they got this name?

Below, brush up on some Megadeth history, including when and where the legendary thrash metal group was formed, their original name and who had the idea for the band name!

When Were Megadeth Formed?

Megadeth formed in 1983. After his abrupt dismissal from Metallica on April 11 of that year, guitarist and songwriter Dave Mustaine sought out members for a new group, who went on to become one of the chief architects of thrash metal.

Where Are Megadeth From?

Megadeth were formed in Los Angeles, California, where Mustaine, who was born about two hours south in La Mesa, just outside of San Diego, was living at the time.

Early members David Ellefson (bass: 1983-2022, 2010-2021) and Greg Handevidt (guitar: 1983-1984) were downstairs neighbors of Mustaine's and had come to Los Angeles via Jackson, Minnesota.

Drummers were quite interchangeable during the band's earliest days.

What Was Megadeth's Original Band Name?

Before branding themselves Megadeth, the group was originally named Fallen Angels.

Who Named the Band Megadeth?

In Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, Mustaine recalls, "In the beginning, I was skeptical about my own singing ability, so we brought in a vocalist named Lawrence 'Lor' Kane. Lor wasn't in the band long, but give credit where credit is due: it was Lor who suggested Megadeth as the band's name. It happened when we were driving around one night, talking about finding exactly the right moniker. Lor knew I had already written a song entitled 'Megadeth' and thought it would work equally well as a band name. And he was right. So, thanks for that, Lor."

READ MORE: 57 Rock + Metal Bands Who Changed Their Name Before Getting Famous

Where Did Dave Mustaine Get the Word From?

The Scorpion Q&A page on Megadeth's website notes:

"After Dave Mustaine’s untimely departure from his former band, Metallica, he was on a four day cross country bus ride home to the bay area and was jotting down some lyrics on the back of a handbill to pass the time. The pamphlet was from California Senator Alan Cranston and was a political discussion of the dangers of nuclear armament. One quote said 'The arsenal of megadeath can’t be rid no matter what the peace treaties come to.' This line also influenced the lyrics to 'Set the World Afire'."

What Is the Dictionary Definition of a "Megadeath"

Mirriam-Webster defines a megadeath (yes, spelled with the "a" in "death") as "one million deaths" and that the term is "usually used as a unit in reference to nuclear warfare."

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