Dave Mustaine on Relationship with Onetime Metallica Bandmates: “We’re Probably Better Off Now Than We’ve Been for a Long Time”

"I just look at that whole period with Metallica as something that was really great for me"

mustaine metallica interview 2023
Lars Ulrich (photo by Raymond Ahner), Dave Mustaine (photo by David Brendan Hall), and James Hetfield (photo by Raymond Ahner)

    Original Metallica bassist Ron McGovney recently offered praise to a former bandmate while tweeting about the legendary metal act’s early demo No Life ‘Til Leather: “Dave Mustaine just kills it on this tape … He leaves the rest of us in the dust.”

    Although both McGovney and Mustaine never played on a proper Metallica album, the latter’s name did appear in the writing credits for several tracks on their first two records (“The Four Horsemen,” “Jump in the Fire,” “Phantom Lord,” and “Metal Militia” on Kill ‘Em All, plus the title track and “The Call of Ktulu” from Ride the Lightning).

    During our recent chat with the Megadeth frontman about his signature Gibson Collection (enter a giveaway for a Kramer or Epiphone guitar below), Mustaine returned kind words to McGovney.

    “Well, I’ve always loved Ron,” Mustaine said. “And I was pretty vocal about how I felt when we would come home from the Bay Area, James and Lars would always pick on Ron. … And it made me resent James [Hetfield] and Lars [Ulrich]. They’re drinking vodka from a jug with a handle on it and spitting food into each other’s mouth in the back of a truck, and I’m watching this – they take one of Ron’s shoes and throw it out the back of the truck. And they’re expensive high-tops. And even if they weren’t, that’s fucked up. So, I’ve always liked Ron and I hated the fact that he got in between trying to protect James when I popped him in the mouth. But we’ve stayed friends ever since.”


    It’s no secret that Mustaine has had a somewhat contentious relationship with Hetfield and Ulrich in the years since he was let go from Metallica and replaced with Kirk Hammett. However, Mustaine says things are pretty simpatico between him and the Metallica fellas nowadays.

    “It took a while for James and Lars and I to kind of come around and become friends again,” continued Mustaine. “But I would say we’re probably better off now than we’ve been for a long time. And it comes and goes. I think the emotions between all of us, it’s probably understandable for a lot of people who break up with someone, it’s like a marriage and you part ways and sometimes you try and justify in your head the decision that you make. And sometimes the facts are all you need, and other times you feel compelled to kinda tell the story and you don’t really need to. And then there are people who tell the story and then add little salacious facts – like a tape recorder that has a feature to add stuff that never happened. So, I just look at that whole period with Metallica as something that was really great for me. And I wish them the best.”

    Mustaine also commented on the criticism Hammett received over the solo on Metallica’s recent single “Lux Æterna,” saying, “I heard that people are taking the piss out of Kirk. But Kirk’s a really good guitar player and I think that people forget real quickly he was winning every single guitar contest there was for 30 or 40 years … I have not heard their new album, but I’m sure it’s great.”


    Both Megadeth and Metallica are on tour this year in support of their respective latest albums, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead and 72 Seasons. Pick up Megadeth tickets here and Metallica tickets here, and enter for a chance to win a signature Dave Mustaine Epiphone or Kramer guitar below.


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