The Record that Changed My Life: Dave Mustaine Discusses AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock'

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.

Let There Be Rock (1977)

I was 16 or 17 when I got this album. I remember taking it home, putting it on my cheap turntable and dropping the needle down on the vinyl. The first couple of notes of "Overdose" just blew my mind.

The sound of the guitar was so untamed, and it lit a fire inside me to approach the guitar like a weapon. The lore behind Let There Be Rock is that Angus and Malcolm Young would face a Marshall against the wall and crank the sucker all the way up. You can tell the amp was turned up unbelievably loud: you can practically feel Angus' fingerprints rubbing against the strings.

[Singer] Bon Scott instantly became a hero of mine, too, because of the words he was using. I was a teenager and here was this guy singing about blowjobs, overdosing and dating fat chicks! I'm thinking to myself, Well, I haven't had the misfortune of dating fat women yet, but I sure do relate to the rest of it. Bon was singing my song!

The more I got into AC/DC, the more I started to develop as a musician. When I was a really young kind and learning music, I was very influenced by the British Invasion: the Beatles, the Who and the Stones. But when it came to developing my own guitar playing style, it was all about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Some people will argue whether or not AC/DC were a part of this new wave, but I do know there was a void between the British Invasion and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and that AC/DC fell into it. When I think of how my style evolved, it was certainly influenced by bands like AC/DC, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden. If you listen to my style — even though it's sloppier — it contains essences of Jimmy Page, Michael Schenker and Angus Young.

But while Angus was always a hero of mine, I identified more with Malcolm. Rhythm is really important in rock and metal, and taking a percussive approach to the guitar is an art that's vital to the sound of that music. That's what Malcolm brings, and that's why AC/DC is his band.

To this day, I listen to Let There Be Rock and it motivates me. That album marked the defining moment in my life when I made my mind up that I was gonna do this, no matter what.

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