Dave Mustaine recalls how jealousy of Metallica’s success motivated him to make a band “more metal” than them

Dave Mustaine
(Image credit: Roberto Finizio/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty)

Dave Mustaine has taken the hot seat for a new episode of Gibson TV’s Icons series, which takes an hour-long deep-dive into the entirety of the Megadeth legend’s prolific career.

And, while he takes a trip down memory lane, Mustaine takes the opportunity to reflect upon his days playing in Metallica, revealing that, after being fired from the band, he became “jealous” of their success.

After responding to an advert posted in The Recycler paper, Mustaine was promptly recruited by Metallica, though was replaced by Kirk Hammett prior to recording the band’s debut studio album, 1983’s Kill ‘Em All.

Recalling the split, Mustaine muses, “Leaving Metallica, a lot of things that they did, watching them have their success, it could have been anything. They could have quit metal and started making Twinkies and I would have been jealous.

“Because we were friends and then, all of a sudden, we’re not friends anymore,” he continued. “And all I know is that I wanna keep doing what we’re doing together because we make people happy and the four of us get to drive around like we’re something special.

“I never felt special before in my life until now. But we have this guitar, we’ve got this band, and now I feel like I’m somebody.”

That jealousy and sense of missing out on Metallica’s success didn’t last for long, though – in fact, seeing his former bandmates going from strength to strength instead served as a pretty strong motivator for the man who would go on to form Megadeth.

“I did a lot of soul searching on the way home,” Mustaine adds, recalling the bus drive home to California from New York after being fired. “Did I wanna play the guitar? Did I wanna keep doing this? What am I gonna do?

“I got it. I’m gonna make a band that’s more metal than Metallica. And I need to come up with a name that’s more metal than a band that has ‘metal’ in their name.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mustaine mulls over his belief that the Metallica lineup he featured in was destined to fail, positing he and the band were bound to go their separate ways.

Mustaine continued, “I probably was destined to leave before that because of, you know, the word 'destiny', and the fact that there was just so much talent and so much personality between the four of us.

“I don’t know that we could have survived. There was destined to be some kind of explosion at some point.”

Other highlights from the interview, which can be viewed above, include a full low-down on Megadeth's albums and Mustaine's initial reaction to Kiko Loureiro's jaw-dropping guitar playing.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.