Dave Mustaine: ‘It Was Honorable That KIRK HAMMETT Took My Solos And Did His Best To Play Them As I Did’
In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, the mighty Dave Mustaine of MEGADETH, the band he formed after his brief stint with METALLICA, shared some interesting thoughts. When asked if he had heard METALLICA‘s latest album, “72 Seasons,” Mustaine replied, “Nope, I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to METALLICA‘s newest masterpiece.”
“You see, there was a time, oh, about 20 years ago when we weren’t exactly sending each other flowers and chocolates. Back then, their music would come on the radio, and let’s just say it didn’t exactly soothe my soul. But hey, that’s ancient history now, and it’s definitely not the reason I haven’t checked out their latest opus. In fact, after our epic Big Four collaboration, I’m thinking we should totally do it again.”
When asked if he feels the recent ribbing Kirk has taken from fans for his soloing is fair, Mustaine replied: “It depends on which solos you’re talking about. [Laughs] Jokes aside, I’ve always kind of poked fun at Kirk. And unfairly so, as he never did anything to me. Whenever I felt singled out, picked on, or antagonized by James [Hetfield] or Lars [Ulrich], it was really easy to pick on Kirk.
“But the truth is Kirk did me an honor by trying to play my solos on those early songs the way he did… Well, I think that some people would have just started over again. So, I thought it was honorable that Kirk took my solos and did his best to play them as I did. That couldn’t have been easy. But as far as his new solos on the new METALLICA album, I haven’t heard them, so I can’t comment. But I will say that I think it’s sad how quickly some people can turn on people.
“There was a time when Kirk won every guitar contest in the world, and I don’t think he’s gotten any better or worse as a player. He’s always been really good. Kirk was a good player when he was in EXODUS. And he’s been steady the entire time he’s been in METALLICA. But does that mean Kirk Hammett is Dave Mustaine? No. And is Dave Mustaine Kirk Hammett? Also, no.”
Last summer, Mustaine discussed his METALLICA departure and the birth of MEGADETH during an interview with the one and only Joe Rogan on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. When Rogan asked if Mustaine seamlessly transitioned into MEGADETH right after leaving METALLICA or if he needed some time to hatch his next move, Dave replied, “In my mind, I went straight into MEGADETH, but let me tell you, there was a lot of mental digestion going on back then.”
But what really rustled Mustaine‘s heavy metal feathers was the fact that he left his music behind with a stern warning: “Don’t touch my music!” Yet lo and behold, the sneaky METALLICA gang used his tunes anyway. “They couldn’t resist,” Mustaine chuckled. “They swiped my masterpieces for their first album, their second album, and hey, they even slipped in parts of my music on their third album. The nerve! All the solos on their debut album? Yup, those were supposed to be mine, my friend, expertly performed by the talented Kirk Hammett. Not too shabby, though, I must admit.”
Inquiring about the financial aftermath, Rogan asked if Mustaine received his rightful royalties. Dave revealed, with a humorous twinkle in his eye, “Well, most of them, yeah. But let me tell you, Kirk got his mitts on my royalties for ‘Metal Militia‘ from ‘Kill ‘Em All’ for what felt like a lifetime. And the worst part? He had to look at the checks, so he knew damn well I wasn’t getting paid!”
Rogan, sensing a tinge of lingering emotion, prodded Mustaine about his feelings of sadness and bitterness surrounding his METALLICA departure. Dave swiftly corrected him, “Nah, no bitterness here. It’s all about the cold, hard cash, my friend. At the end of the day, what truly matters to me is my happiness, my family, my loving wife, and my precious children. Oh, and our amazing fans, of course! I have countless things in life that bring me joy.
“But you know what really rocks my world? My family. And hey, don’t forget my unshakable bond with the big man upstairs. I hold that close to my heart, but I won’t sermonize or push it onto anyone else. It’s my personal jam. So, when I look at where I’m at now, I was a spry 20-year-old in METALLICA, and just look at me now—I’m a seasoned 60-year-old rock god leading MEGADETH to glory. I’ve even bagged a Grammy and became a New York Times best-selling author. Life has its surprises, my friend!”
Mustaine‘s tongue-in-cheek delivery injected a dose of laughter into his reflections, showcasing his ability to find humor in the twists and turns of his rock ‘n’ roll journey. While money may have been a sticking point back in the day, Mustaine‘s focus now lies firmly on what truly matters: family, happiness, and an impressive track record of accomplishments. And with that winning mindset, the heavy metal maestro continues to conquer the world, one riff at a time.