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Dave Mustaine Calls Grammys ‘Master of Puppets’ “The Worst Version I Ever Heard!”

(Image credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

As previously reported here, when Megadeth won their “Best Metal Performance” Grammy for their 2016 album, Dystopia, at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on February 12, the house band performed Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” as the band walked to the stage. The error was particularly unfortunate seeing as Megadeth were finally winning a Grammy after 12 prior nominations. Worse, frontman Dave Mustaine was a founding member of Metallica and was unceremoniously fired from the group in 1983 with, as Mustaine once put it, “no warning, no second chance.”

As it turns out, the frontman was so overwhelmed by the group’s win that he didn’t notice what the house band was playing.

“You know what?” he tells “I didn’t even notice it. It just sounded like some music in the background. The funny thing is that when I went back and listened to my acceptance speech, and I heard the song, I was like, ‘Wow!’

Mustaine says that when people asked him about “the Metallica thing,” he thought they were referring to Metallica’s Grammy performance with Lady Gaga, which was itself marred by mic problems that rendered James Hetfield silent. Megadeth accepted their award at the pre-televised Grammy Awards and had left the building when the televised portion began. “By the time they did their thing with Lady Gaga,” Mustaine says, “we were across the street eating dinner.”

After watching a video of Megadeth’s win, Mustaine says he isn’t phased by the band playing “Master of Puppets.” “It’s a house band, and they’re doing cover songs. They were probably saying, ‘We don’t know any Megadeth songs, how about if we do a Metallica song?’

“But when I went back and listened to it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s the worst version of ‘Master of Puppets’ I’ve ever heard in my life!” [laughs]

In the end, Mustaine says, “I was just happy to be up there. It’s about being recognized. We all want so badly, when we pick our careers as kids, to be the best at what we do, and when you choose to be a musician, the stakes are much different.”

You can watch Megadeth accept their Grammy award below.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.