BY JOHN B. MOORE
Megadeth founder and former Metallica guitarist Dave
Mustaine is full of contradictions and many of them come out in his
memoir. His band Megadeth, along with
other thrash metal founders like Anthrax and Slayer were seen as the antidote
to the preening, style-over-substance genre of hair metal that hijacked the ‘80s
music scene, yet throughout his book, Mustaine talks about band members who did
not have the “right look” – either they didn’t dress right or their hair was
too short to fit into the image he had for his band. He even details a few
makeovers he had to conduct over the years to get members looking just right (a
sort of metal eye for the straight guy).
The larger contradiction revealed in Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (It Books), though,
is Mustaine’s admission that he is now a Born Again Christian. Yup, the guy
evangelists throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s warned was a devil worshipper who
would sacrifice your kids is now totting a Bible. Religion plays heavily in
Mustaine’s childhood: raised a Jehovah’s Witness, he does admit to dabbling in
Satanism briefly (though not actually coming right out and admitting to being a
Contradictions aside, or perhaps because of them, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir is far
more interesting than the standard heavy metal bio detailing years of banging
groupies and hanging with Aerosmith (don’t believe me, check out the recent
memoirs from members of Motley Crue and Guns ‘N Roses – which are pretty hard
to tell apart).
He also opens up in great detail about his drug use, his
numerous visits to rehab (17 to date), and his brief stint in Metallica,
getting kicked out of the band mid-tour, and being asked to participate in the
train wreck of the Metallica documentary Some
Kind of Monster.
It’s clear that Mustaine still feels betrayed by his former
band and will be competing with them every time he takes the stage, walks into
a studio or simply straps on a guitar.