Dave Mustaine recalls jamming with Slash: “He’s actually a little more technical than I am”

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth performs at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 7, 2016 in Concord, North Carolina
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Megadeth’s 1990 album, Rust in Peace, is widely regarded as a marvel of technique-laden thrash metal, and celebrates its 30th anniversary today.

But in a new interview with Metal Hammer, singer and electric guitar player Dave Mustaine reveals that he’s not so technique-obsessed as one might think. When asked about the fact that at one point he invited Slash to join Megadeth, interviewer Clay Marshall commented that “it would be hard to imagine your technical precision meshing with [Slash’s] loose fluidity.”

To which Mustaine replied, "I think you have that backwards, and that Slash is actually a little more technical than I am. What we were playing [in Megadeth], it was a very punkish/metal kind of vibe.

Mustaine went on to explain his approach to the guitar, saying, “For me, I love the way I can pick up the guitar and say 'Fuck you' to anybody with it. It's an art. A lot of people can't do that. A lot of people don't even know what that means. You have to completely command your guitar. There's great, powerful, beautiful players like Eric Johnson, and they kind of just adoringly caress their guitar. Me? I like to punch it in the stomach.”

Elsewhere, Mustaine discussed the status of Megadeth’s upcoming studio album, and whether it will, as previously mentioned, include 18 songs.

“No,” he replied. “At the very beginning, I had 200 songs in my folder, but I've just been whittling it down and down and down. We're going to finish what we feel confident about.

“When you put out a record and you've got more songs than you need to, that's a waste, and if you put out songs that aren't finished because you don't have good enough songs, that's cheating the fans. Songs that are ready will be released; songs that are not will be worked on (later) or thrown out.”

As for whether it will be a pandemic-obsessed album, he continued, “I don't think I'm going to write about the virus, because it's so obvious. There's going to be a lot of stuff that comes out very shortly, and I guarantee you it will all be about this. I've already seen songs with 'Quarantine' in the title. For me, that's a timely event. I've always tried to make our lyrics be timeless.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.