Megadeth: Rust Never Sleeps
GUITAR WORLD How has it been to recreate Rust in Peace in concert?
DAVE MUSTAINE It’s actually been pretty fun for us. Rust in Peace was not one of those records where we thought, One day, we’re going to be playing this all the way through in concert. We knew there were certain gems on it that would become live staples, but it was already Megadeth’s fourth record and we had a lot of material to choose from even then. Obviously, I had a feeling that a couple of songs, like “Holy Wars” and “Hangar 18,” would be with us to the end. And then there were songs like “Take No Prisoners” and “Tornado of Souls” that are a little more aggressive. I didn’t really know whether they would endure, but they have actually been part of our set for the last 20 years.
Now, the five other songs—“Five Magics,” “Poison Was the Cure,” “Dawn Patrol,” “Rust in Peace…Polaris” and “Lucretia”—they were just part of the record, and I thought that was where they’d stay. But it’s been refreshing for us to come back to them when we’ve performed the album all the way through. The bummer is that, at the time of the Rust in Peace 20th anniversary tour, we were right in the middle of supporting Endgame, one of our best records since Rust. So it’s kind of frustrating on one hand, but it’s also really exciting to have people come out to the shows saying, “Well, let’s see if he can still do it,” and then I go out there and do it. Because there are a lot of little pricks out there that think I can’t play like that anymore.
GW That said, the Rust in Peace material is rather complicated. The guitar work, in particular Marty Friedman’s soloing and your rhythm playing, is incredibly advanced from a technical standpoint.
MUSTAINE Well, you know, by the time we went into the studio with Marty, the album was already completely written. And one thing that most people don’t realize is that on every Megadeth record, I play the majority of the rhythm parts, with only a little embellishment from the other guitarist. So all Marty had to do was put the solos on the top of everything, and he did a great job. Now, as far Chris [Broderick] having to play Marty’s parts on this current tour, the fans are losing their minds, because hearing him do those solos is just like hearing Marty. That’s how good Chris is.
GW What was your impression of Marty when he auditioned?
MUSTAINE Well, I liked Marty when I first met him, because he was a gentle guy and was really dedicated to his craft. But I was kind of put off by his appearance. Our manager had his CD [Friedman’s 1988 solo album, Dragon’s Kiss] on his desk for months, and I would look at it and just be like, “No way.” But one day, I put in the CD and was just like, “Wow! This guy wants to play with us? Let’s bring him in.” And Marty showed up, and he was pretty funny looking—he had the two-color hair and all that stuff. He was living hand-to-mouth in Hollywood, you know? But he was great.
GW How did you and Marty work together in the studio?
MUSTAINE We just did what we did. And it worked because of the differences in the dynamics of our playing. You had “the fire and the ice,” as people used to say about us. Love and hate, you know? And I thought it was really cool to have a player who was so different from me but who was also coming from a similar place. Because the guy that was there before Marty [Jeff Young] was a big fan of Tony MacAlpine, and I wasn’t. And the guy before him [Chris Poland] was a big fan of Mahavishnu Orchestra, who I did like, but still… So we had had a bunch of different types of guitar players in Megadeth. When Marty came in it was like, “This is what we like. This is what we need.”
GW A classic guitar moment between you and Marty is the second half of “Hangar 18,” where you trade solos during an extended instrumental section. Were those leads improvised in the studio or composed beforehand?
MUSTAINE My parts were off the cuff. I think his were written out. But I’m a self-taught guitar player, so I just kinda let it rip.
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