Dave Mustaine on Early Days With Metallica: "I Had Always Called Us the 'Four Horsemen'"

For the next month leading up to the Big Four show at Yankee Stadium on September 14, Guitar World and Revolver are teaming up to bring you exclusive Big Four content every day for four weeks -- the "Big Four Weeks," if you will. For the first two weeks, Revolver will be rolling out portions of their roundtable discussion with the members of the Big Four every day. You can check out an excerpt of the first one below, and read the full thing here

REVOLVER: Dave, what do you remember about writing music with Metallica at the time?

DAVE MUSTAINE: I had always called us, as a group, the “Four Horsemen.” Before I was in Metallica, I really loved this band called Montrose, and their guitarist was Ronnie Montrose. He went on to form a band called Gamma. One of their records [1980’s Gamma 2] had a shark fin cutting through the grass, which I thought was so awesome. Anyway, he had a song on there called “Four Horsemen” that I did with my band Panic, which I was with before Metallica.

So when I joined Metallica, I had the song “Mechanix,” which I wrote, and “Four Horsemen” was a suggestion of mine to do ’cause we were doing cover songs. So that had planted the seed with James. And one day when we were coming to rehearsal, Lars had just said something about slowing down my song, “Mechanix.” I had just gotten to the studio with Cliff, and we had been listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I was being a jerk, so I played “Sweet Home Alabama” instead of “Mechanix,” and that’s basically the middle part of what would become Metallica’s “Four Horsemen.”

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.