I was a bit of an odd kid in my teens. When most of my friends were exchanging Metallica’s Black album, I was scratching out the Rust in Peace tape on my walkman, in awe of the fluid guitars and lyrical mastery on phenomenal tracks such as Hangar 18 and Tornado of Souls.
As one of the godfathers of modern thrash metal and a general badass, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine’s life offers several lessons on how to be a person who’s loved and hated in equal measure.
On his 56th birthday, here’s wishing Dave Mustaine all the strength, speed and rage to keep him going.
1. Challenge Your Aggressors
Metallica vs Megadeth – it’s an endless debate. Unceremoniously fired from Metallica, Mustaine sulked, but only for a while.
On the bus home, he sought revenge and vowed to form the heaviest metal band. Megadeth came together soon enough, releasing their debut album a year later. And the argument has festered ever since.
2. Rise Above Your Weaknesses
Since Megadeth came into existence, Dave Mustaine has smashed through several rehab doors. In the last decade, he has moved beyond his vices to produce tasteful beer and wine.
In 2002, a serious nerve injury left Mustaine unable to grasp a guitar or make a fist. Debilitating for most guitarists, Dave went on to release The System Has Failed two years after what most people thought was the end of Megadeth.
3. Have a Unique Style
Mustaine’s rasping voice and twin-guitar harmonies are trademarks of Megadeth’s raw sound as much as Vic Rattlehead – the band’s smug mascot. Metal-loving scientists even named a new species of tarantula after his unique guitar-playing technique.
The band’s catalogue remains highlighted by talents such as Marty Friedman and Kiko Loureiro, going on to show Mustaine’s eye for selecting polished musicians.
4. Have a Political and Social Conscience
Till date, anything that Mustaine touched has come with a high degree of political conscience, whether it is the raging war anthems Rust in Peace…Polaris and Holy Wars, or Countdown to Extinction, which speaks about the end of species due to excessive human intervention.
The Megadeth act and lyrics continue to be socially relevant and far removed from the self-absorbed, love-struck glam bands of the ’80s and ’90s.
5. Love Your Friends and Cherish Them
Despite harbouring an oil-well of rage against Metallica, Mustaine was close to bassist Cliff Burton, whose sudden death inspired the hit single In My Darkest Hour. Slayer’s Kerry King used to help out Megadeth during shows, and the story of Mustaine’s friendship with bassist David Ellefson is downright hilarious.
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