Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has said he doesn’t think Metallica “could have survived” had he stayed in the band.
Mustaine opened up about his old band in a new interview for Gibson TV’s “Icons” series. Mustaine was famously ousted from Metallica in 1983, just weeks before the band recorded its iconic debut album, Kill ‘Em All.
As a result of his excessive drinking and erratic behavior, the guitarist was sent packing while the band was in New York, given a one-way ticket back to Los Angeles. As Mustaine explained, it was inevitable due to the strong personalities in the young thrash band.
While it was certainly a tough bus ride back to L.A., Mustaine recalled that the trip the band made to the East Coast wasn’t so pleasant either. Mustaine was driving a truck that skidded on black ice in Wyoming and ended up destroying some of their equipment.
“The ride out [to the East Coast] was bad,” Mustaine said [as transcribed by Blabbermouth]. “Because of the crash in Wyoming, I think that that’s what made me the guy that had to go. And I don’t know. 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 an explosion at some point.”
Mustaine’s regret and occasional resentment toward his former bandmates has been well documented. After he was replaced by Kirk Hammett, he would form his own thrash metal institution with Megadeth, but watching his former band grow into the genre’s most popular act was tough on Mustaine — his sentiments expressed openly and honestly in an emotional meeting with Lars Ulrich during Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster documentary.
“Leaving Metallica, a lot of the things that they did, watching them have their success, it could have been anything,” Mustaine said in the new interview. “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. 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. And 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.”
These days, Mustaine and the Metallica camp appear to be on better terms. They shared the bill for the legendary Big Four concerts in 2010 and 2011, and Mustaine even joined Metallica onstage for an all-star cover of Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?”
“I’m glad to say that our friendship today is so much different from that moment, those moments, those days, those times, those people,” Mustaine added. “We’re all different. We’re dads. We’re older now. And I think that probably was the most shocking and hardest thing to tolerate or to accept at the end, was that when the band stopped, I kind of felt like I stopped. I know that’s not true. But what’s a young kid at the time to think. I had no mentors, I had no one talking [to me through] my life and saying, ‘You’re gonna get through this, and you’re gonna be so much happier for it.’”
Megadeth are readying their highly anticipated new album The Sick, the Dead and the Dying and kicking off their rescheduled North American tour with Lamb of God tonight (August 20th) in Austin, Texas. Gibson and Mustaine also recently announced a new partnership and line of guitars.
Watch Dave Mustaine’s Gibson TV “Icons” interview below.