October 14, 2013
I remember the first time I heard them. It was a sunny day in 1992, either before or after school. I was a lowly freshman and was at the mercy of my big sister for rides. And if that wasn’t bad enough, guess who had control of the radio? Somehow, though (my sister took momentary leave of her senses?), that day, a powerful, snarly, thrashy, and melodic song found its way through those speakers. Could it be? Was there really music out there I actually enjoyed listening to that made me feel something? I would not have to pretend to like Mariah Carey anymore in an effort to fit in with my peers? Oh frabjous day! The song, my friends, was Megadeth’s Symphony of Destruction.
It all started back in 1983 when Dave Mustaine was “kicked out” of Metallica. Not a great day for poor Dave, but he really turned things around for himself. Anyone without his tenacity and stubborn will to fight would’ve accepted defeat, but he soldiered on. He ate, slept, and bled metal to give the world what is, arguably, the best heavy metal band ever! I don’t think Dave was meant to be in Metallica anyway. Can you imagine what we would’ve missed out on had his fate taken a different turn? I don’t even want to think about it, man! Megadeth is one of my favorite bands in the whole world, probably THE favorite. They are my Beatles!!! In fact, I could totally see them doing a Help-esque movie because they are some seriously funny dudes!
Megadeth’s music is classified under the thrash metal genre for all intents and purposes, but they are capable of so much more (which is why I don’t like the sub-genre boxes metal bands are thrust into, anyway!). I think it would be pretty boring for a band with such talent to produce the same record time after time. I think it’s awesome that they offer the loyal listener gems like Mastermind and Losing My Senses. I love that some songs have super funky bass lines (thanks to David Ellefson, one of the grooviest bassists of all time!) like Dawn Patrol. And Dave Mustaine puts so much emotion into his voice that you can feel what he feels: his pain, his anger, his sorrow. The only other guy I can recall who could do that (for me, at least) was John Lennon!
Megadeth has had many band members come and go over the years (kind of like Spinal Tap, ha!). Dave Mustaine (founding member along with David Ellefson) is the only one who has endured their now 30 year span. When Mustaine suffered a freak injury in 2002 after falling asleep with his left arm (a.k.a. his "money maker") over the back of a chair, and was told he would probably never play guitar again, he decided that it was time to end Megadeth. Fortunately, for everyone, Dave was able to come back with a vengeance, thanks to intense physical therapy and a positive attitude. He reformed Megadeth in 2004, but sadly, David Ellefson did not want back in at the time due to a feud between him and Dave that began when they disbanded two years earlier. Mustaine was able to find other competent musicians, but most of them didn't stick around. David Ellefson (or "Junior" as Dave "Senior" calls him) made a triumphant return (thanks, in part, to Shawn Drover) in February 2010 after reconciling with Dave, which was music to all of our ears! Today, Megadeth consists of Dave Mustaine killing it on vocals, rhythm, and lead guitars; David Ellefson grooving and gluing things together on bass; Chris Broderick simply shredding on lead guitar; and Shawn Drover pounding out the beat on drums. This is my favorite line up (yeah, even better than Marty Friedman and Nick Menza from 90s era Megadeth!). These four have a really good bond between them as musicians and friends, and it shines through on stage. They have a lot of fun up there, and they make sure we do, too!
I could go on and on about Megadeth for days on end. I love their music, and the more I find out about them, I appreciate it, and them, even more. They're just a bunch of regular dudes who happen to do what they love for a living. And they have managed to stay true to themselves in the process, even if it means they aren't the most popular band in the world. Ah, but to their fans, they are. Megadeth is a band of the people, by the people, and for the people, and they don't let us forget it either. They're loyal to their fans and give back to us at every opportunity with events such as meet and greets and online chats for fanclub members (Shyeah, I am one!). Every interview I have read, listened to, or watched with any member of Megadeth, they consistently thank the fans. It is so refreshing to know that they never forgot where they came from and don't act like stereo-typical rock stars.
I urge you to listen to Megadeth! I bet you'll enjoy at least one of their songs. Maybe start out with their latest release, Super Collider (my copy is hand signed - just one of the fanclub perks!), which is a mix of all the sounds they have developed over the years. Also, check into Freegal for FREE downloads. If you would like to learn more about the "inside scoop," read Dave's autobiography, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir. I have read it four times already! I am also super excited about David Ellefson's (he's my favorite, in case you haven't figured that out yet!) forthcoming autobiography, My Life With Deth: Discovering Meaning in a Life of Rock & Roll, on October 29. If I can turn just one reader of this blog onto what I think is a wonderfully, talented and top-notch band, then my job here is done! Maybe, you'll even venture out to a live show next time they roll into town. Can I come with??? \m/
Your friend in metal,