Metallica and Megadeth have a longstanding rivalry, felt most powerfully and perhaps almost exclusively by Dave Mustaine. Mustaine, a co-founder of Metallica and frontman for Megadeth, has often expressed regret, yearning, and sorrow over losing his place in Metallica. The success of Megadeth should more than make up for the loss, but somehow in Dave’s mind, doesn’t always seem to.
Metallica fired the Megadeth frontman 34 years ago, for allegedly being a mean drunk. Nobody minded that Mustaine drank, it was generally expected, but Dave Mustaine explained to Loudwire drinking made him violent.
“I would drink and have fun until someone would refute something I had said. And then that was war, baby. I’d be aggressive and confrontational because I was a violent drunk. I lost all inhibitions when I was drinking, and that didn’t go over to well in the end.”
While the Metallica and Megadeth singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine fully understood why his behavior was unacceptable, he resented the way he was let go. First off, he was given no warning and no second chances. Further, as Mustaine explained to Loudwire, his departure from Metallica was rather unceremonious.
Metallica didn’t put the future Megadeth guitar god on a plane, instead, they bought him a ticket on a bus set to depart in only an hour. Metallica and Megadeth’s growling heartthrob with his glorious red and golden curls was given a cheap bus ticket back to California from Manhattan. It was a four-day ride, giving Dave Mustaine plenty of time to stew.
Megadeth was thus born on the back of that bus. Dave Mustaine wanted to write down some song lyrics and the only paper Dave had was an anti-atomic weapon political pamphlet that read “The arsenal of megadeath can’t be rid.” Then and there, Dave Mustaine resolved to form a new band called Megadeth.
Megadeth and Metallica, 34 years later, still feel the rivalry and the discomfort that came from Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich’s avoidance of Dave Mustaine’s wrath at the time, by throwing Mustaine on a cheap bus as soon as possible.
Metallica went on to record their debut album, Kill’em All. Dave Mustaine who had written some of the best songs on that album, went on to form Megadeth.
Metallica and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine have officially forgiven each other, and it was perhaps simply a mistake of their misspent youth, but if it was a mistake, it was one Megadeth fans are thankful for none the less. Imagine the world where there was no Megadeth and only Metallica. Where would Metallica be without the Megadeth rivalry to push both bands harder?
Metallica’s James Hetfield told Loudwire that Metallica and Megadeth got over it eventually, and of course, Mustaine has performed with Megadeth since that long sad bus ride. Hetfield told Loudwire Dave just had a different journey.
“There’s no reason [for things] to not be good [between us]. At this point, we’ve all freakin’ fell off the wagon, we’ve all gone into the ditch, we’ve all gotten back on track, we’ve all learned from our stuff. And at the end of the day, it’s just journeys — everyone is doing a different journey — and why would you hold a grudge with someone or vice versa?”
So what is the lesson there? When Metallica tosses a crazy mad musical genius like Dave Mustaine on a slow bus across the country, he doesn’t just get mad, he forms another great band, Megadeth, to rival Metallica.
Metallica and Megadeth are still going strong, and on May 19, Metallica’s James Hetfield roared from the stage of the Gillette Stadium, “Metallica gives you heavy, baby!” according to the Boston Globe.
Today, Metallica and Megadeth are still coming in heavy, with lead singers growling through clenched teeth about vicious vendettas and angry societal angst. Their guitars are not only fast but furious, as if the angry, frustrated, and fighting spirits of untold numbers of hungry ghosts were channeled through the guitar’s electricity itself, flooding the amps with the furious music of pure anarchy.
Megadeth was feeling something a lot different than every other metal grinding day, as they mourned the loss of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. At a Megadeth show in Tokyo, Megadeth performed a cover of Soundgarden’s “Outshined,” according to Metal Injection. It was a beautiful rendition that perhaps Megadeth and Metallica may have at least in some ways helped to inspire.
Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine explained into the microphone that he was no Chris Cornell, according to Metal Injection. Mustaine spoke in a moment of uncharacteristic humility. Dave Mustaine must have felt this loss deeply.
“Chris Cornell, a friend of mine, a friend of all of us from Soundgarden, died today and we have lost one of the most beautiful voices in rock and in history… Now, I don’t sing like Chris, I could never sing like Chris, but we’re gonna sing a song right now. And if you know the words, sing with me. If you don’t know the words, then just make noise. I love you, Chris. I’ll see you one day up in heaven.”
Megadeth, Metallica, and Soundgarden have given so much to the music world. Chris Cornell reportedly took his own life and the music community is in deep mourning for this great artist. Lost to the world now, Chris Cornell will be missed.
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Megadeth and Metallica are still going strong, with the fiery redheaded Dave Mustaine at the helm of Megadeth caught up in the tragic loss of Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, but still able to perform a tribute.
[Featured Image by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP Images And Kevin Winter Getty Images]