Dave Mustaine is someone blessed with enormous talent, but unfortunately also cursed with an addictive personality that has driven him close to the edge on more than one occasion.
Buyer's Guide: Megadeth
Megadeth's career now spans more than 30 years. In 2007, Metal Hammer ran this guide to their catalogue
After being sacked as Metallica guitarist in 1983 for his excessive, confrontational lifestyle, Mustaine put together Megadeth with bassist Dave Ellefson, guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson and, urged on as much by a hatred of Metallica as by anything else, released the imaginative Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good in 1985, followed by the seminal Peace Sells... But Who’s Buying? a year later.
Their first album was on the independent Combat label, but as thrash metal grew in popularity the band signed to Capitol for the follow-up. Soon they became established members of the genre’s Big Four, alongside Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax.
At this stage Mustaine sacked Poland and Samuelson, and hired Jeff Young and Chuck Behler (Samuelson’s ex- roadie) before recording 1988’s So Far, So Good... So What!. After which it was that pair’s time to get the boot, and Marty Friedman and Nick Menza entered the lair. Amazingly, that line-up lasted almost a decade, and the continuity led to a productive period for the band, with 1990’s Rust In Peace _and Countdown To Extinction_ (which came two years later) being particularly inspired.
Regular commercial success seemed to spur on Mustaine’s creativity, but by the end of the last decade – with Menza and Friedman now gone – the band had lost their way. The World Needs A Hero in 2001 (with Jimmy Degrasso on drums and Al Pitrelli on guitar) did little to halt this decline.
In January 2002 Mustaine offered a career-threatening hand injury as the reason for splitting up Megadeth, but after a period of rehabilitation he returned last year with The System Has Failed.
It’s been a long, strange trip over the past 30 years for Mustaine, who is still not at peace with either himself or his past. But, despite his own misgivings over their legacy, Megadeth are unquestionably one of the bands who have given the thrash metal genre both longevity and credibility.