Dave Is Back.. So Am I..

Discussion in 'Music Talk' started by jayanth, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    Just about everyone assumed Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's musical career was over after he fell off the wagon and suffered a nerve injury in 2002 that left his left arm completely numb for four months. Even Mustaine had doubts about whether he'd be able to perform again.

    The accident took place in rehab, when Mustaine fell asleep with his arm draped over a chair and seriously compressed a nerve in his left bicep (see "Megadeth Pack It In After Nearly 20 Years"). Doctors told him he might never regain full use of the arm, let alone play guitar. So the metal icon broke up Megadeth and went into hibernation for the rest of the year with no real plans. He even offered bassist David Ellefson rights to the band's name. But something inside him refused to give up.

    "I had this fire in my belly I thought would go out when I finally retired," he said a few weeks prior to the Tuesday release of Megadeth's new The System Has Failed. "I guess I wasn't ready to quit because it didn't go out."

    Once Mustaine regained some feeling in his arm, he began an intensive year-long weight-therapy regimen. Every day he'd go to the gym and lift with the hopes of regaining enough strength to eventually pick up a guitar. "My left arm had completely withered, so I was lifting these two-pound dumbbells," he said. "You know what color those weights are? They're pink. So I'm in the gym, and these meatheads with horse jaws are looking at me, and I'm going, 'Dude, don't even say it.' "

    After regaining strength in his hand, Mustaine still needed to work on his dexterity. He hired a guitar teacher, labored over scales and other exercises, and in the process learned a bit about music theory. "I was a totally self-taught guitarist, so I said to my teacher, 'OK, let's start at the beginning.' The guy was like, 'You've gotta be kidding,' and I said, 'No. I know what I'm doing, I just don't know what it is that I'm doing.' "

    Last summer, when Mustaine regained full speed, he started writing songs for what he thought would be his first solo album. Record label EMI, however, told him a solo disc wouldn't fulfill Megadeth's contract promising them one more album. So Mustaine decided to record a Megadeth disc, though none of his former bandmates was willing or able to be involved. "A lot of people say Dave on his own isn't Megadeth," Mustaine snarled. "The bottom line is: There's nobody left in the band but me, and the album still sounds like Megadeth."

    The System Has Failed doesn't just sound like Megadeth, it sounds like vintage Megadeth and is Mustaine's heaviest album since 1992's melodically thrashing Countdown to Extinction. The disc features plenty of crunching speed riffs and sneering vocals. The songs are catchy, but the abrupt rhythm changes and fiery guitar solos maintain a propulsive feel throughout. And while the band's last few albums have featured polished production, overt radio hooks, and modern rock flourishes, The System Has Failed sounds genuinely dangerous from start to finish.

    "Megadeth really lost its way after Countdown to Extinction," Mustaine admitted. "That was when Nirvana came out with Nevermind and lots of things changed. The band kind of lost its identity, started to pursue other outlets, and tried to be successful instead of staying true to itself. This time I wanted to make a real metal record — something liberating for me without worrying about radio play or sales. And there were no holds barred."

    In the process of revisiting classic Megadeth sounds from albums like 1986's Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying? and 1990's Rust in Peace, Mustaine recruited original guitarist Chris Poland to record solos for many tracks on the record. The reunion happened last year while Mustaine remixed tracks for the re-release of the Megadeth catalog. After working on the band's first disc, Killing Is My Business ... and Business Is Good!, he invited Poland to the studio to hear the mixes. Following a bit of reminiscing, he decided to invite the guitarist to guest on the new album.

    The move surprised Poland, who had been fired from the band in 1987. It's even more surprising considering the physical confrontations that once went down between the two.

    "I beat the hell out of Chris after gigs so many times, but he never felt it. It never dawned on me that the guy wasn't feeling it because he was on heroin," Mustaine recalled of his ex-bandmate, who entered rehab after leaving Megadeth. "I'd punch him until my hand was bashed in. Then we'd wake up the next morning, hug each other, and move on. That's the kind of relationship we had."
  2. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    Megadeth : The Breack Up Thingy

    The fourth track on Megadeth's 2001 album, The World Needs a Hero, is "1000 Times Goodbye." Written as a breakup song, its title is more meaningful now that after nine studio albums and nearly 20 years, Megadeth have bid the world farewell.

    Frontman Dave Mustaine made the announcement Wednesday (April 3) in a written statement. "For the time being, I have decided to exit Megadeth and explore other areas of the music business," he said.

    Mustaine's decision was triggered by a series of episodes that date back to the beginning of the year. In January, he relapsed after over a decade of sobriety, a friend of the band said. He checked into a rehabilitation center in Texas, where he sustained an injury that caused severe nerve damage to his left arm and hand, endangering his ability to perform.

    "My doctors tell me it will take about a year to make as complete a recovery as I can," he said. "And even then, we don't know how complete that is going to be. I am working hard with a great team of doctors and physical therapists daily, and God willing, someday I hope to play guitar again."

    During his recovery period, Mustaine plans to spend more time with his wife, Pam, and his two children, Justis and Elektra.

    "Pam has done a wonderful job carrying the load while I was a long-distance husband and father in the studio or crisscrossing the world on tour," he said. "But in terms of being a Gold or Platinum parent, I have a long way to go, and I'm eager to get started."

    Mustaine thanked his fans for their longtime devotion and expressed gratitude for the success he's enjoyed over the years.

    "I have had a terrific time singing and playing for you while I was in Megadeth," he said. "I can never thank you, our fans past and present, enough for your loyalty and affection."

    Before forming Megadeth in late 1983, Mustaine was the guitarist for Metallica. He was booted from that band early that year for personal and creative reasons. The first Megadeth album, Killing Is My Business ... And Business Is Good! came out two years later and cemented the thrash band as a musical force to rival other dominant metal outfits of the era. Between 1990 and 1997, Megadeth garnered seven Grammy Award nominations for Best Metal Performance, though they never won.

    The group scored its first mainstream success in 1986 with Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying? (A snippet of the title track is used as the musical outro for MTV News segments.) Megadeth's most successful record was Countdown to Extinction, which reached #2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

    On the 1994 album Youthanasia, Megadeth shifted direction slightly, slowing their tempos and experimenting more with melody and atmosphere. The evolution continued through 1997's Cryptic Writings and hit a peak with the appropriately titled 1999 disc Risk, which included Middle Eastern string melodies on "Insomnia" and electronic-industrial clamor on the anthemic "Crush 'Em."

    In 2001, Megadeth returned to their hard rockin' roots with The World Needs a Hero and recently released the double-disc live album Rude Awakening.

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