Dave Mustaine responds to praise from Kerry King: “It's not every day one of the most fearsome guitarists in the world gives you a compliment”

[L-R] Dave Mustaine and Kerry King
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a sprawling new interview with Metal Hammer, Slayer guitarist Kerry King dives deep on his illustrious career, touching on his early days in the California thrash metal scene, and even the time he contributed a guitar solo to a song by Canadian punk rock vets Sum 41.

In the conversation, King piles praise upon Dave Mustaine, frontman of another quarter of the Big Four, Megadeth, calling him a “fucking great guitar player”.

Recalling Mustaine’s time with Metallica in the early ‘80s, King says: “They were great at that point. They were ahead of us by at least 16 months to a year. They were doing originals and we were still doing covers. 

“I think we opened for Metallica with Mustaine, I can’t recall, but I know me and Dave [Lombardo, Slayer drummer] definitely saw them in a club and we were blown away by Mustaine.”

Now, Mustaine has offered a wholesome response to King’s comments on social media. “It’s not every day one of the most fearsome guitarists in the world gives you a compliment like this,” he says. “Thank you Kerry, I look forward to hearing your new stuff and we should definitely go out together.”

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It’s pleasant to see the pair of metal guitar legends getting along once again. For a time, the duo had an acrimonious relationship following their 1991 Clash of the Titans co-headline tour, primarily over who came up with the idea for the trek.

In a 2005 interview with Metal Edge magazine, King responded to negative comments Mustaine made in the press about him, saying: “Somebody asked me recently, ‘What do you have to say about Mustaine ragging on you?’ You know, it don’t matter, because if you let Mustaine talk long enough, he’ll bury himself.

“It has nothing to do with me – ask anybody in the biz about Dave Mustaine. If they have an opinion, he’s a cocksucker. I take it for what it is. I have no vendetta against him.”

Things between the pair have sweetened over the years, though. In the August 2022 issue of Guitar World, Mustaine detailed how he’d like the Big Four to work together again someday.

“I sometimes think how much better things would have been if we would’ve all tried a little bit more within The Big Four,” he said.

“The four of us still have so much authority and power and we could do so many great things. It would be great if we could get together and have a meeting of the minds as these four figureheads – the metal Mount Rushmore – and think of something special we could do to really benefit young bands and musicians and artists.”

Read the full Kerry King interview in the new issue of Metal Hammer, available via Magazines Direct.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.